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WikiProject Literature (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
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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)