"Realism" in fiction

A lot of folk say that fiction should be “realistic” that it shouldn’t all be happy-happy-joy-joy.  The implication is that to be “real” fiction must be be miserable stories about miserable people living miserable lives.

I disagree. While miserable people living miserable lives can be part of the real world (all too often, IMO) that’s not _all_ the real world.  I’m part of the real world and I like to think I’m not a “miserable person” and I’m certainly not living a miserable life.  It’s not a perfect life, far from it, but there’s a great deal of room between “everything is always perfect” and “everything is miserable”.

As Ouida, pseudonym of Maria Loise Rame. From “Romance and Realism” in “Frescoes and other stories” (1883) wrote: “But the Vatican Hermes is as ‘real’ as the Japanese netzke, and the dome of St. Peter’s is as real as the gasometer of East London; and I presume the fact can hardly be disputed if I even assert that the passion flower is as real as the potato!”

“Realistic” does not have to mean “depressing.”

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