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Discussion 2003-2004[edit]

Non-fiction "derives from provable facts"? That is questionable. The Qur'an and the Bible cannot both be true, but both are non-fiction. Non-fiction is intended to be understood to be true, but that doesn't mean it is always provable. -- Mike Hardy

At least some theologians will probably argue that a considerable part of the Bible is narrative text and consequently fiction. I do agree, however, that this stub oversimplifies things. --KF 01:10 Jan 5, 2003 (UTC)

We currently have two major types of fiction articles: "<Foos> in fiction" and "List of fictional <foos>". These appear to be very similar, only that the "<Foos> in fiction" articles sometimes contain more detailed discussions. We need to agree on a general title for these articles. Personally, I think "List of fictional cats" should be "Cats in fiction" etc. Other opinions? --Eloquence 01:59 Jan 5, 2003 (UTC)

What about all the different kinds of authors of fiction? Danny

What about them? I already linked some of them, more to follow. I think the article titles are fine there. --Eloquence

I don't see why we need to set a standard at all - if the article is a list, then it's a "list of fictional foos", while if it's a more general article about the subject, then it's "foos in fiction". It's possible one might even want both - if the article on, say planets in science fiction got very long, then it might be an idea to break the list off to List of fictional planets. Just my opinion, of course. --Camembert

I agree. If it is a list then it should be named appropriately so people don't expect an encyclopedia article when they click on a linked titled [foos]. That way we also sidestep the anti-pluralization naming convention and clearly distinguish encyclopedia articles form Almanac-like lists. Besides, usually [List of foo] is a subarticle of [foo] that was spun-off as soon as the list in [foo] got too long. We should have an encyclopedia article about fictional cats but it should be titled fictional cat so that within an article on a fictional cat we can simply write "Foo is a fictional cat." Any long list of fictional cats could then be spun-off into [list of fictional cats] leaving the article about them free of clutter. If we don't follow the anti-pluralization naming convention then we would have to write "Foo is a [[fictional cats|fictional cat]]" or "Foo is one of many fictional cats" (redirects are not the answer because their existence is not obvious and the presence of an incorrectly pluralized article title will encourage more similarly pluralized titles). Plurals need to be avoided for encyclopedia articles and Almanac-like list need to be named correctly (perhaps in the future our statistics can be made to count the number of articles with "list" in the title and maybe even exclude them from the article count - since they are not encyclopedia articles). --mav
Hmm, I'm not sure which policy you are suggesting here. Should all "List of <foo>" articles be renamed "<foo>" (singular)? Should "women in science fiction" be "woman in science fiction"? I think it's important to have consistent titles, and if we call an article about fictional cats "fictional cat", there is a consistency problem with articles like "Mars in science fiction" etc. Making articles easy to link to is an important criterion, but IMHO article titles should also look professional and consistent.
I could agree with "<foos> in fiction" for articles and "Fictional <foo>" or "List of fictional <foos>" for lists. --Eloquence
But [foos in fiction] is still plural which violates a naming convention and also isn't likely to be linked to naturally or directly. [fictional foo] would and should there be the title of the article. Also, when a person clicks on a link titled [fictional foo] in the context of an encyclopedia it is very reasonable to expect that they want to land on a encyclopedia article about fictional foos and not a list. Any long list of fictional foos can and should eventually be in [list of fictional foos] and logically would only be linked to from [fictional foo]. This has been the current common practice for many months - I just haven't gotton around to writing a naming convention for it. Professional presentation is highly subjective whereas whether or not an article is easy to link to is easier to determine and since we are a Wiki we need to encourage easy and natural linking. --mav

So should we from this derive a policy that:

  1. Lists should always be called "List of .." so they are easily recognizable.
  2. Specialized articles such as "Women in science fiction", "Mars in science fiction" should have specialized titles
  3. More general articles should be called "fictional <foo>" (singular) for easy linking?

I'm not too happy with that result. It is inconsistent, esp. 2 vs. 3, and I particularly dislike "fictional <foo>" titles. It just doesn't sound very encyclopedia-like. What would you search for to find out about cats in fiction -- "fictional cat" or "cats in fiction"? Searchability is another important criterion besides linkability. "We are a wiki" is correct, but we are first and foremost an encyclopedia. Wiki is just a tool. --Eloquence

But to build that encyclopedia linking must be easy and predictable. Otherwise, there is no encyclopedia. --mav
I think it's reasonably simple. Redirects on "fictional <foo>" are a good compromise. There does not seem to be a risk of further "plural contamination" as we are dealing with specific composites, not individual words. --Eloquence
I just changed every fictional cat I could find to [[List of fictional cats|fictional cat]], so that one is moot. Ortolan88
Not the best solution. Now people will be brought to a list instead of the future article on fictional cats. --mav
Better solution than not finding them at all. If, in the future, someone writes an article on fictional cats, they can do as they please with the cross references. Whatever they do, it will be easier because they are now linked, not just text.
It is hard to imagine how an article on fictional cats would be much more than a list though:
"The cat in fiction draws on deep wells of human connection with the feline race . . ."
I wasn't suggesting that a redirect shouldn't exist in the interim before an article on fictional cats can be made. If each of the fictional cat articles have a link in them called 'fictional cat' then when an article replaces the redirect at fictional cat then nothing needs to be changed. --mav
"Fictional cat" is not a proper title for an encyclopedia article. "Cats in fiction" is. And it's more searchable. --Eloquence 01:08 Jan 10, 2003 (UTC)
This isn't any ordinary encyclopedia. Free linking is a very important thing to consider here whereas that is not important in a dead-tree encyclopedia. --mav
We have various behind the scenes means to make linking easier for us (i.e. redirect "fictional cat->cats in fiction"). We should never sacrifice the values of an encyclopedia for the values of a wiki. ---Eloquence

I shortened the last paragraph, which for reference read:

Fiction may be perceived as funny, serious, sad, fast, tense, confusing, surprising, twisted, provocative, boring, unrealistic, enlightening, addictive, manipulative, generic, beautiful, life-changing, depressing, or inspiring. Whatever one's view of specific forms of fiction may be, it cannot be denied that fiction is a fundamental part of human culture, and the ability to create fiction, or in fact any art, is frequently cited as one of the defining characteristics of humanity.

The long list of adjectives looked kind of ridiculous and didn't have much point. (The second sentence was shortened because it was too wordy.) Eric119 03:55, Jul 16, 2004 (UTC)

"It leads up to the denouement (or catastrophe) Where the story is settling down and you start to get the climax and where is might be resolved."

what does that mean? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:00, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Poor, poor definition[edit]

Fiction is the term used to describe works of the imagination. This is in contrast to non-fiction, which makes factual claims about reality.

What does "factual claims about reality" mean? Works of the imagination? Beethoven's symphonies are works of imagination, but are they fiction? Picasso's painting? Fiction is about literature - why doesn't this entry state that explicitly? Are poetry to be considered fiction, or merely prose? Plays?

This lead entry is seriously disappointing. Mandel 12:39, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

So fix it ;-). I've tried to come up with a better first sentence. However, the reduction to literature is simplistic, movies and computer games are not literature, yet they are clearly examples of fictional works in the modern usage of the word. I have used the word storytelling, which I think is a better general term and which has a nice article of its own. Please help to improve the definition, but please keep in mind that fiction refers to much more than just books.--Eloquence* June 30, 2005 03:09 (UTC)

The current version seems basically fine. I think there is a danger in trying too hard to define and defend the boundaries between traditional categories. It is convenient to make use of the categories "fiction" and "non-fiction", but I'm not sure that it is useful to try to view these categories as being distinct in the way we could distinguish "empty" from "full". Works of fiction and non-fiction are the products of fallible humans. Even a person attempting to produce a work of "pure non-fiction" cannot be sure that they have avoided including fiction in their work. Some people are such good story tellers that they can produce fiction that is accepted by the world as non-fiction. If you abandon the possibility of an objectively definable boundary between fiction and non-fiction, you might be tempted to define a boundary based on the intentions of authors. For example, an author might decide to write non-fiction, describe their work as non-fiction, and attempt to exclude fiction from a book. However, there are authors who intentionally seek to blur the distinctions between fiction and non-fiction, creating a gray area of works that might best be called "part fiction and part non-fiction". What if I wrote a history book in which I attempted to create a pure non-fictional account of a famous historical event. In order to generate publicity for my work, when the book is first published, I announce that I have intentionally altered one factual detail in my account of the historical event and I am challenging my fellow historians to identify the subtle alteration of the truth that I inserted. I promise to correct the fictional element in my history when future editions are released, provided that someone can identify the fragment of imaginary history I inserted. After reading the book, a few historians identify some factual errors, but I claim that they were not intentionally inserted into the book by me. Historians start to speculate that there never really was an intentionally altered detail in the book or that the intentionally altered factual detail is too minor for anyone to notice and was just a publicity trick. If my book fiction or non-fiction? Here is a version that explicitly incorporates the idea of a fuzzy boundary between fiction and non-fiction:

One of the major ways of categorizing works of entertainment and literature is to classify them as fiction or non-fiction. Fictional works include storytelling of imagined events. In contrast, non-fiction makes factual claims about reality. Some genres such as faction and entertainment news intentionally blur the distinctions between fiction and non-fiction." --JWSchmidt 30 June 2005 17:42 (UTC)

I think the article is already clear on this point: "may be partly based on factual occurrences but always contain some imaginary content." I hesitate to put a more detailed discussion in the introduction, but perhaps it would make sense to have a new section specifically on this phenomenon?--Eloquence* July 1, 2005 12:04 (UTC)
The lead has improved vastly, and all credit. However, like much of Wikipedia, it has difficulties distinguishing between dictionary definition and encyclopedic definition. I know "fiction" is often merely a byword for "made-up unreal stuffs", but should it be so laxly define in an encyclopedia, as in here: Fiction is also frequently instrumentalized by propaganda and advertising. Fiction may be propagated by parents to their children out of tradition (e.g. Santa Claus) or in order to instill certain beliefs and values.
Fiction, properly defined, shouldn't include everything that is made up but stories that are directed specifically for an audience or characters from them etc. If I made up a non-existent person (say, my maternal aunt if my mother is an only child), that's not a fictional character. Mandel 11:53, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Mandel. I believe, also, that we should make a distinction between what is fiction and what is just false. Fiction, in a narrower sense, pressupposes that both the person that tells the story as well as the one that hears it know that those are not the facts.

On my website, I am trying to determine which books are fiction and which not. There are three books of poetry that someone has called fiction--that is, they contain something like a narrative and are considered Literature. Others consider poetry to be in the fiction genre. I won't waste valuable wiki space on this...see the forum topic [http // Is This Fiction?]. KennyLucius 04:17, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Elements of fiction[edit]

I thought this section needed sprucing up. Are there any other elements of fiction that should be added? Mazeface 15:24, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Before adding more elements, I think we should correctly define the ones we have. Did you read the articles that the elements link to? KennyLucius 16:58, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree. Some of these elements are linked to articles that have nothing to do with fiction or literature, i.e. conflict, resolution, and structure. I would be happy to help create new entries on these which relate to fiction. Mazeface 17:55, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Since when does a novella equate 300 pages? [[User:SeizureToday}} 19:33 29 January 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

RfC/poll – Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker: one article or two?[edit]

What do you think? E Pluribus Anthony 19:35, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Story and Plot[edit]

We need to make a distinction between story and plot, as they are not the same thing and both are used by writers of ficiton. CaveatLectorTalk 02:25, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Santa Claus[edit]

Santa is not fiction for most children. They believe he actually exists, which makes it a lie rather than ficion. It is pressuposed that a fictional story is known by all to be untrue....So hes mostly, really not real Your presents basically come from your parents

Inappropriate link[edit]

Hi, this is Iamdalto, too lazy to log in. Anyways, i removed a link to pornographic stories; it is inappropriate, and doesn't add to the quality of the encyclopedia.

Hi, Lamdalto-too-lazy-to-log-in. I cannot post my comment at the discussion at your user profile. Also, I did not found the user Cpappas, who made Revision of 17:53, 13 September 2006. So, I type my comment here. Looking for a name for a non-existing country, I found the pics of girls which remain alive (and steel keep sexual desires) having a stick through their body. It is so non realistic, as a spacecrafts passing each other with sound of a jet airplane. Both cases should be qualified as "fiction". However, the links should bring to specific wiki articles about particular kinds of fiction, for example, dolcett and star wars, not to a commercial links. I am not sure if I suggest most typical examples. Do we count with specialists to do it? dima 12:18, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

A connection between non-fiction and fiction[edit]

Does anyone know of a way for us to traverse between reality and fiction?--Luke Elms 00:47, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

No verification needed[edit]

I deleted "verification needed" for this sentence: Many atheists perceive religion as no different from any fictional tale, whereas members of religious groups typically explain their beliefs with faith and/or historical figures/events; and claim they are fundamentally different from fictional tales (although they may call other religious views fictional). I think there is enough consensus that it is reasonable, and doesn't need any reference.

Elements of Fiction[edit]

I made a revision to the Elements of Fiction section to reflect the ongoing debate/lack of consensus. I also included an outside link to an article by me, regarding the ongoing debate. I believe this to be consistent with Wikipedia's policies regarding self-promotion and no original research policies. Your comments are welcome. Mike Klaassen 12:58, 12 September 2007 (UTC)


Could someone add something about encyclopedic fiction? Thanks. --JWSchmidt (talk) 03:09, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

More on fiction usage[edit]

I've perceived that fictions are the human equivalent of computer simulations, such as weather prognoses, but more oriented to experiments such as what-ifs and such in order to "prepare to" possible future realities, likely or not. What is the simulation base, feelings, relation issues, dangerous events, a future society (scifi), applying strange potentially destructive tech (dystopic scifi), realistic relations in an imaginary society (fantasy), etc. Wish: Would be very nice to have a psychologist source to cite for a general evaluation of fiction usages. The topic is very fascinating, otherwise humankind wouldn't have been so fascinated in fiction (tautologically said). Said: Rursus 13:56, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Huh?[edit]

Is there an overarching Project for all types of fiction? This doesn't really seem to fall under philosophy... TREKphiler hit me ♠ 12:00, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Short Story Length[edit]

Copied into the new section #Word count, 2011-10-14

There's no rule that defines a short story as being capped at 7,500 words, and 'novelette' is not usually included in a list of literary forms. Many anthologies of short stories include works of 7,500 - 15,000 words and some include works up to 20k. Better to allow for some overlap, or to point out that the word limits vary considerably with context. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 18 January 2009 (UTC)


就会离开回家立刻就立刻就会离开家糊涂防御天赋 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:56, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Tomb said i could find somethign about why the enterprise was built on earth and not in space in this article. but i can't find it. lots of text LOL. can someone point to it for me? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:34, 30 May 2009 (UTC) I may request to write the whole literary genres —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:04, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland[edit]

Hi! I fail to see how this can be seen as 'fiction'. May be this is because of language barrier as I am a native Russian speaker, i would not call it other than a tale. In Russian there is a word 'fantastika' which refers to fiction and includes science fiction, speculative fiction, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, utopian and dystopian fiction. The only exceptions are fantasy which often considered a separate genre and alternate history. Should not science fiction, speculative fiction, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, utopian and dystopian fiction be described as sub-genres of one genre or even variants of science fiction?--Dojarca (talk) 17:54, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

If you read the first paragraph of this article, you would know that fiction is basically everything that isn't based on real-world facts. I think that “fantastika” would be translaled as “speculative fiction”. Svick (talk) 18:16, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
So does fiction include tales?--Dojarca (talk) 17:52, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes. Svick (talk) 23:45, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
What's the scope of science fiction then? This article says utopy, dystopy, alternate timeline, post-apocalypsis are the separate genres distinct of science fiction, but science fiction counts them as variaints of science fiction. What the difference between science fiction and speculative fiction?--Dojarca (talk) 03:21, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Fantasy, Science Fiction, etc

See the "Scope" sections in Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels and Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels. I'm not sure whether that is helpful here. --P64 (talk) 18:26, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Professional writer[edit]

"a professional writer usually writes an average of 500–1000 words per day. Stephen King stated he writes an average of 2000 words per day, every day."
What? Hu? Says who? How can that be a refference? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:51, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Resolved in a technical sense. See #Word count. --P64 (talk) 18:10, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Word count[edit]

First responder, at least, should feel free to reorganize if that's useful.

1. Should this article mention word counts? I'm not sure.

2. Word count is the substance of the preceding section "Professional writer". In a purely technical sense, I have resolved that by displaying the two footnotes on word count as Notes, in contrast to all the others as References. Of course the substance needs attention.

3. Word count may define the categories novella and siblings, and the article now does that in section Fiction#Categories. Here is a verbatim copy of one comment above.

(Copied from above, "Short Story Length") There's no rule that defines a short story as being capped at 7,500 words, and 'novelette' is not usually included in a list of literary forms. Many anthologies of short stories include works of 7,500 - 15,000 words and some include works up to 20k. Better to allow for some overlap, or to point out that the word limits vary considerably with context. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Word counts do currently define categories in science fiction, at least for SFWA Nebula Awards (short story, novelette, novella, novel). Maybe also for Hugo Awards or online databases such as the Locus Index to Science Fiction and the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. --P64 (talk) 18:48, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Realistic Fiction[edit]

I don't believe the word "faction" is proper in this context and I'm not sure why the author included it in this article. The proper definition for "faction" has nothing to do with fiction, and no dictionary (known to me) defines it as the author does. He/she might be confusing or conjoining the words "factual fiction" instead. Since this isn't a widely used term (as far as I know), I think the sentence in question should be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Davidwnbrgr (talkcontribs) 04:59, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Fiction and fictionality[edit]

With regard to the questions of genre, and the difference between fiction the genre and fictionality, it is clear that good sources are needed, so that this potentially controversial matter can be put to rest. I'll see what is out there from solid scholarly sources, as opposed to blogs and journalists.Rwood128 (talk) 07:46, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

See List of literary genres/Fiction: [1]


The following (edited for "off point noise")) is copied from my Talk page, with the agreement of all editors. Rwood128 (talk) 22:09, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

Hello. I'm looking at your [rwood128] most recent edits to the "Fiction" article and have some concerns:
  • I'm wondering why you deleted the original sentence that actually defined what fiction is (even with a source included). Now, the lede just describes fiction overly broadly as a "literary genre, a narrative or creative account" but without any fully fleshed-out definition. Not every literary genre, narrative, etc. is fiction (in fact these categories also describe non-fiction), so this seems much less clear as a first sentence.
  • Also the tag at the end of the first sentence there ("in the sense that they are fictional") does not seem to help out the lede, since the idea of fiction/fictional/fictionality is never actually defined; this makes for a circular description. Can we reinstate the original source I used (I'm happy to reword my phrasing, if that's what you found clunky, awkward, etc.)?
  • The third sentence blatantly contradicts the first sentence.
  • The final sentence of the lede itself seems like a particularly confusing case of unnecessary wordiness.

Please comment on my talk page in response or if you need any further clarifications on these thoughts. Thank you! Wolfdog (talk) 01:12, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

By the way, I was just thinking, based on your heavy focus on fiction in the specific sense of the literary genre by that name, you might be seeking the page Literary fiction. Wolfdog (talk) 01:51, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
Many thanks for your helpful comments. I had realised that my edit needed further work, but have been preoccupied the last few days, I need further time to think about this and read more on genre. Heather Dubrow's short book Genre looks like a good beginning, as I cannot find anything useful online. I don't believe that I was looking for literary fiction. However, what I did find interesting was that drama is defined as a mode, a new term for me.
I find great difficulties in defining fiction simply, given that in the twenty first century the division between fiction and non-fiction has become meaningless. Certainly the greatest literature is about truth and scientists recognize that their theories are just useful fictions. I'm not an expert on genre, and I suspect that the experts may not always agree, but I plan to look further into this.
Giving the criticism above a quick look, I think that much is probably true and Fiction should be revised accordingly. For me the final part is the most important: "The word fiction is at times used incorrectly, when works in other genres, such as the theatre, opera, film, etc., are described as being in the fiction genre. They are, however, of course, in the other sense of the word, works of fiction." The final sentence was an after thought, so it might well be deleted, (see reference to wordiness above), especially if the confusion earlier in the lede is resolved.
But see my comment above re the thorny question of truth and fiction. It may take time to get better wording.
I did find the previous version "clunky, awkward" in places, to quote Wolfdog. My preference would be to continue editing rather than endless discussion, though here both are probably needed. Rwood128 (talk) 12:50, 6 April 2015 (UTC)


The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms, ed. Cuddon (1999), defines Fiction as "A vague and general term for an imaginative work, usually in prose" and A Handbook to Literature, Harmon and Holman (7th edition), as " Narrative writing drawn from the imagination rather than from history or fact. The term most usual associated with novels and short stories, though drama and narrative poetry are also forms of fiction. M. H. Abrams's A Glossary of Literary Terms (1999) has a long discussion of "Fiction and Truth", which looks most useful here. His definition is more lengthy, so I won't quote it – but similar to that of Cuddon. What is most interesting is that the word "genre" is missing from these definitions. The dates refer to my editions, which are reprints. Rwood128 (talk) 19:23, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
I probably muddied the water by suggesting that fiction is a genre, but I don't think that I the only one who has done this on WP. If it isn't a genre, it might be a good idea to make that clear, to save any future problems. But the word "fiction" is used as a synonym for a novel, etc. – isn't that a genre? Hope this makes sense? Rwood128 (talk) 22:25, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
I've only heard sub-categories of fiction labelled "genres" (like sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, etc.), rather than fiction itself. Also, I've never heard fiction used as a synonym for a novel. If someone says "I read some interesting fiction the other day" to mean a novel, that's like "I ate some interesting food the other day" to mean strawberries. The sentence makes sense because strawberries are a subset of food, but the terms definitely aren't synonyms. I guess I'm not certain what you mean there.
Anyway, here was the original source (which seems decently researched) I'd used in my lede with all the relevant material available at the URL: Farner, Geir (2014). "Chapter 2: What is Literary Fiction?". Literary Fiction: The Ways We Read Narrative Literature. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. . In Ch. 2 of that text, under a heading "Narration and Fiction," it makes some interesting comments, like "subjectivity does not imply fictionality" and it describes how the distinction between fiction and non-fiction isn't really about truth vs. non-truth, but, rather, the creator's claim to truth vs. no claim to truth. The source I referenced goes on about the importance of this "truth claim" in defining fiction, mentioning that, unlike nonfiction, "Fiction is not accompanied by any equivalent truth claim, and bears no responsibility for the relationship between the fictional world and specific elements in the real world." That's why I originally wrote that fiction classifies a work "whose creator does not claim responsibility for the work's faithfulness to reality" (my added italics). Non-fiction, on the other hand, is not defined by how the sender of information renders his/her subject, but by the fact that "the sender's intent is to be loyal to the truth" (my italics). I realize that I'm just focusing on one source here, but it seems a more in-depth exploration than the traditional truth vs. falsehood distinction that always ends up getting murky once you think it through. What else do the sources say?
To be honest, I also pretty much approve of your source defining fiction as "A vague and general term for an imaginative work, usually in prose" because this directly addresses the lack of precision in the term and also seems to leave it open for use in works of theatre, television, film, etc. which I think are nowadays all very widely regarded as fiction. However, I think we can also add on to and hone that definition even more. Wolfdog (talk) 01:00, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

I'm going to go back to your final edit go 4 April to reconsider it, in light of M. H. Abrams discussion of "Fiction and Truth" in A Glossary of Literary Terms. I'll also look at Geir. Abrams defines Fiction, as "any literary narrative, whether in prose or verse, which is invented instead of being an account of events that in fact happened. In a narrower sense … novel and short story, and sometimes simply as a synonym for the novel". I like words like "invented" and "imaginative" but I'm bothered by words like "lie" and "fraud". I happened recently to get round at last to reading War and Peace and interestingly Tolstoi claims that the novelist can get closer to the truth than the historian.

There seem to be two main points to consider:

  • First defining fiction, and
  • Second working out whether it is correct to call fiction a genre. That is in the broad sense, because in the "narrower sense" fiction, the novel is a genre. In the last 4 April edit the word "classification" is used: "Fiction is the classification for any creative account". Genre is a classification. Is fiction in the broad sense possibly a form or mode?

Also film, theatre, etc. confuse me. Are they are genres that belong to both the modes of fiction and drama? Rwood128 (talk) 11:53, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

The follow ing is a rough draft for a revised lede, without full citations. Is it any good?. Rwood128 (talk) 16:42, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Fiction is a narrative, most frequently in prose or verse, created by imagination, rather than based on history or fact.[1] The term is most usually associated with the genres of novel, novella and short story, though drama (including the genres of play, opera and ballet, film and television), are also forms of fiction, as is children's play. Fiction involves creative invention, so that faithfulness to reality is not automatically assumed by its readers,[2] in other words, a work is not guaranteed to present only actual people and factual descriptions. Fiction is a literary mode,[citation needed] unless used in a narrower sense as a synonym for the novel, or the related genres.[3]

First, know that I very much like your new lede. Second, I'll be fussy and here apologize in advance for maybe these seemingly minor (or just difficult-to-flesh-out changes:

  • I think the phrase "most frequently in prose or verse" can be omitted, since you talk already about what fiction is "most usually associated with" in the next sentence, in greater depth. Wolfdog (talk) 01:49, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't think "children's play" needs to replace the word "play," since adults are perhaps just as influential creators of fictional universes via playing and unrehearsed recreation. I assume, though, you're trying to avoid the word "play" in the sense of a "theatrical play." Maybe say "recreational play"?
  • This is really being picky--does fiction definitely have to be a "narrative"? I remember describing the short work "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" on WP as a work of fiction, but without any real story/narrative element. "Omelas" essentially presents a fictional universe without any plot; it's purely descriptive rather than narrative. But isn't this still fiction?
  • Works of fiction, though created by imagination, can often still be very much based on history and fact (as Tolstoy seemed to agree). The Great Gatsby, for example, though about imaginary people and their goings-on, is also very strongly about a historical/factual aesthetic, time-period, overall metropolitan location, cultural attitude, etc. Maybe say "rather than based purely (or solely) on history or fact."
    • But now that I think about it... What we see with most fiction is some definite elements of actual/historical truth. What we see with most (at least, highly regarded) non-fiction is some definite elements of the imagination (more so in the creative use of language, I would think, than in the content). So can we really use "imagination" as our dividing line here? Even most non-fiction writings are still "created by imagination." Coming from imagination and being based on history or fact are not mutually exclusive domains. I think that's why I liked the source that talked about the author/creator claiming something vs. not claiming that thing as the dividing line. The more I think about this, the more frustrating it becomes....
      • Ah, wait! Maybe we can say something like: "Fiction is content (primarily in narrative form) created by imagination, in addition to, or rather than, being based on history or fact." Wolfdog (talk) 02:15, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

I'm still not clear about the idea of fiction being a "genre." I don't think "genre" and "classification" are synonymous; it would be normal to say that cats are a specific classification of mammals, but certainly a bit odd to say that cats are a "genre" of mammals, shirts a "genre" of clothing, or happiness a "genre" of positive emotion, except maybe poetically. Again, I feel like the everyday word "genre" is a very particular sub-category within artistic styles and forms. I could be wrong, though, if you can find the sources to the contrary. Wolfdog (talk)

Oh, and I would say, yes, film, theatre, etc. belong to both drama (they are performance-based fictional works) AND (therefore) fiction. Wolfdog (talk) 01:55, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Great comments. Thanks.
  • (1) Re "prose and poetry". I was thinking here of verse novels, Chaucer, etc, etc. Originally poetry and song were part of the list beginning with "play".
  • (2) Children's play – yes, agreed. This is a useful clarification.
  • (3) Re the problem with the word "narrative". Yes, that did float in the back of my mind. It is certainly hard finding the right word to cover everything listed. Contents may be the best, though adding "usually" might do?
  • (3) Mode, genre, classification. I'm now having doubts about using the word "mode", for the broad general sense of fiction. It is another "vague general term". A word like classification may well be safer. The confusion, which frequently arises, as between between fiction, meaning novel, novella, short story, genres, and the broader usage needs to be emphasised.
I'll revise the draft lede based on your ideas and add full citations. Is that OK? Rwood128 (talk) 10:37, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

This follows on from the previous discussion:

Fiction is content (primarily in a narrative form), in prose or verse, created by imagination, in addition to, or rather than, being based on history or fact.[4] The term is most usually associated with the genres of novel, novella and short story, though drama (including the genres of play, opera and ballet, film and television), are also forms of fiction, as is recreational play. Fiction involves creative invention, so that faithfulness to reality is not automatically assumed by its readers,[2] in other words, a work is not guaranteed to present only actual people and factual descriptions. Fiction is a a classification or category, rather than a mode or genre, unless the word is used in a narrower sense as a synonym for the genres novel, novella, or short story.[5]

Yes, it looks a lot more cleaned up. I'll post it! Wolfdog (talk) 21:13, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Good. I've enjoyed working with you! Rwood128 (talk) 21:15, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
You too. I'm just making some slight changes (like changing "readers" to "audience") that I think you'll be fine with. Wolfdog (talk) 21:24, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
    • ^ A Handbook to Literature
    • ^ a b Farner, Geir (2014). "Chapter 2: What is Literary Fiction?". Literary Fiction: The Ways We Read Narrative Literature. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. 
    • ^ M. H. Abrams
    • ^ William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman A Handbook to Literature (7th edition). New York: Prentice Hall, 1990, p. 212.
    • ^ M. H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms (7th edition). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace, 1999, p. 94.