ELA 5: What is Realistic Fiction?

Personally, we prefer unrealistic non-fiction...but we've been having a tough time finding it. Instead, today we'll focus on realistic fiction. It can pretty much be as wacky as any other fiction, just no magic or super powers or anything like that.

5th GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School5th Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:30

and hobbits and…whatnot. By reading stories about people and places

00:34

that are a bit more relatable… …we can learn things about our society, [Man on a ranch with cows and horses]

00:37

our culture, and ourselves. If you’re into that sort of thing.

00:41

Unlike stories in the fantasy genre, where strange creatures and characters can show up…

00:46

…realistic fiction concerns itself only [Boy and girl having coffee]

00:49

with stuff that could conceivably happen. Some characters might act a bit bonkers, but

00:53

“out of the ordinary” does not equal “outside the realm of possibility.” [Man runs away screaming from the coffee shop]

00:58

Writers of realistic fiction tend to focus on modern themes.

01:02

Their characters deal with present-day issues… …and the way the story unfolds says a lot

01:06

about the author's opinions about those issues. Like…maybe you’re reading a story in which [Girl stood on red carpet at a world premiere]

01:11

several characters are Hollywood celebrities. If, in the course of the story, those characters

01:16

regularly use their fame to manipulate and corrupt their unsuspecting fans…

01:20

…it could be that our author has a negative view of celebrity. [Audience watching Fast and the Furious X]

01:24

Either that, or he’s just got a strange, personal vendetta against Jennifer Aniston.

01:28

People who write really good realistic fiction, however, aren’t heavy-handed with their messages.

01:33

They don’t stereotype or generalize.

01:35

Because if the characters become caricatures…i.e. exaggerated versions of real people… [Man drawing a caricature]

01:40

…then we’re no longer operating in a world of reality.

01:43

And then we’ve just got…um…fiction. [Centaur wearing a scarf walks into coffee shop]

01:46

Nope…to create realistic characters, a writer needs to give them individuality and depth.

01:51

We need to be shown the motivations for their behavior… [Man laying on a sofa]

01:54

…and those motivations had better jibe with everything else we know about them.

01:57

If a story features a little ol’ granny who has always opposed acts of physical violence… [Grandma protesting against violence]

02:01

…but she suddenly starts getting into fist fights on the street…

02:04

…something is probably very wrong. Of course, if little ol’ grannies acting

02:08

like little ol’ grannies isn’t doing it for you…

02:11

…you can always choose something to read from the fantasy genre instead. [Girl reading a little ol' grannies fantasy book]

02:14

In fantasy novels, little ol’ grannies can do anything they please…