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  1. losingdalostboys

    losingdalostboys New Member

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    Help a girl decide on a genre?

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by losingdalostboys, Nov 4, 2019.

    Hello, first post ever! Okay, so here's the deal:
    I've gotten into Languages lately, especially Literature. I've been studying different movements, and the one that stuck out to me was Realism. I absolutely fell in love with Anthropology and all the cool stuff those authors can do without using any kind of Fantasy. Fast forward, i'm currently publishing a webseries based in Realism, mostly focused on teenagers and well, it's a Romance. The thing is... I'm start to find it boring. As a child i always loved series/cartoons/shows etc. About stuff like fairies, monsters, super heroes, fairytales, mermaids... You name it. And it was what really filled me. I'd fangirl with my friend in excitement over new movies, make headcanons, incorrect quotes (In our own before the tumblr fandom way hehe). And now i'm facing a huge dilemma: Realism or general Fantasy? I'm absolutely attached to my current characters but they are... You know, real people.
     
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  2. Storysmith

    Storysmith Senior Member

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    How about having the fantasy elements appear in your current story? Something like Buffy works, not because of the monsters and magic, but because it is grounded in realistic characters.
     
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  3. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think your definition of Realism might be a little skewed. Realist stories do not usually have much romance in them, and tend to fall towards a really dark area in literature. It gets even worse if you go down the roads of Naturalism, on off branch of Realism that focuses on the unforgiving natural landscape as well as an indifference to the lives of humans. Modernism can also be an offshoot of realism as well, but tends to be very difficult to decipher and understand, but it looks into real issues in politics and people of its time. Then there's also the Local Color group, which focuses on specific areas, dialects, and attitudes. This doesn't sound like what you're working on at all.

    If you would like author examples for each of these, I can help you out with that, but I don't think realism is the road you're looking for.

    It seems that you've fallen in with the young adult fantasy crowd. I wouldn't try to call this Realism at all, since you will confuse a lot of literary people. You can have a lot of realistic characters and elements to a story and still fall in the fantasy grouping, just make it logical.

    Hope this defining helps.
     
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  4. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    The thing is, you can (and probably should) create believable (ie 'realistic') characters in Fantasy. You can certainly steer away from the stereotypical 'fantasy' characters and create better characters ...but similtaneously create a world for them that doesn't actually exist.

    The more realistic your characters are (in terms of their humanity, their wants and needs, fears, goals, dilemmas, etc) the easier it will be for your readers to identify with them and get pulled into the stories. Wherever the stories might be set. In the real world, or in a world of your own devising.

    If you DO want to write actual Realism, then the suggestions @EFMingo offered should be truly helpful. But with Realism comes the responsibility to get things right, at least from your—or your characters'—perspective. This means doing lots of research and/or writing about what you actually know.

    Which option do you find most attractive? Research-based real-world realism, or just character realism?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  5. losingdalostboys

    losingdalostboys New Member

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    Hi! Thank you for your reply :) Yes, i know what the Realistic movement is like, i've been studying it for the past months. From what i know, romance exists in realism, but it's... Well, realistic. No idealizations, no perfect characters... Well, in total opposition to Romanticism and their virgins jazz. That's what i love about realism, though. Real people, and it's hard to be a Mary Sue unless the character is trying to keep an appearance. I know these elements can be used in any genre, but my problem here is: When i don't put any Fantasy into it, am i just lacking the "Interesting" element? I have been the developing this story since i was 11, so it's become more of a "snowball" than anything else. I feel like the story is missing something to "Spin around" as in, real people doing real life stuff without a purpose might not make an interesting story in the end.
    I tend to lean towards Naturalism sometimes, but mostly with certain characters in certain occasions (As it's more about "animalized" humans hehe)
     
  6. losingdalostboys

    losingdalostboys New Member

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    You just put it into words! The last line is being a great dilemma to me. I was attracted to realism mostly because of Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, and if you put everything together, i'm attracted to Realism because of the characters the movement makes. These things can be easily put into a fantastic environment without losing their characteristics, and now that i think about it, it's even more attractive. As of right now, my story is similar to some of the following titles:

    The Perks of Being A Wallflower;
    Love, Simon;
    The Fault is on Our Stars;
    Dare i say something like 13 Reasons Why just for the teenager thematic

    Except all of them have something to spin around, and the resume of my story is just various teenagers from different backgrounds living their lives without necessarily serving a purpose. The main characters are two sisters: The youngest is rather dramatic and tends to make scenarios and interpret things way different from the reality in her head, while the oldest is stubborn and, because of that, always getting into unnecessary drama. I would even link to it but i have barely finished posting the first chapter so you can't tell how it's going.
     
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  7. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Everybody hates Mary Sues. The characters can make their best efforts to be one, but the writer actually putting one in is a mistake. Predictability inevitably leads to boredom. I would suggest for realist characters that you breeze by parts of their day-to-day that don't fit as a writing device. Realist works are very critical in their themes and writing elements like symbolism and foreshadowing. The tone of the works tend to lean on a harsher reality, sometimes showing a light through them, but not always. I would suggest finding the core themes and messages your trying to send with your work, and capitalize on them by bending the story and the environment to those themes. It will give the items that you choose in their day-to-day routines or diverges the ability to have purpose, and symbolically foreshadow or develop a theme.

    Psychoanalysis can be a critical part as mentioned as well, but the stories aren't usually entirely cerebral. Freud was in vogue at the time for the most critical works of realism, so it pays to study that a little if you haven't already. Plays a large part in the works of the first half of the twentieth century at least.

    I'd be interested in seeing your work if you lean towards Naturalism. It's a tough genre to accomplish, and yields some especially critical and dark works on society. Young characters don't really fall in that category at all, and romance is almost nonexistent in the genre. I'm intrigued, to say the least, if you somehow made that work without falling into a different genre. Usually realism with romances and younger characters will fall into the categories of Local Color, where it's focused more on a region-to-region and dialect basis. Kate Chopin and Tennessee Williams show this well, along with Mark Twain.

    I'd dare say that you're kind of falling into the Post-Moderism, or Coming-of-Age area of literature. The Post-Moderism features extremely realistic characters in reflection on normal situations, but are generally theme and tone heavy. I'd suggest maybe Jhumpa Lahiri. Her short stories are beautifully put together, but quite difficult. She takes on realistic themes and globalism fairly well. Her characters feel like real people. It's almost unnerving the way her attention to detail puts you into her scenes. There are plenty of others as well, just a suggestion not on the best sellers lists you had above.

    And as a final note, I assure you that you don't need fantasy injected into your work to be interesting. That's its own thing. Personally, I'd be more interested reading your attempts at Realism and Post-Moderism, than fantasy.
     
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  8. losingdalostboys

    losingdalostboys New Member

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    Symbolism and Foreshadowing sure are two of the things i love to add into my writing. My favorite model is actually no other book than the Bible itself. The sneaky metaphors and foreshadowing are absolutely perfect, it always leaves me amazed.

    Excluding Madam Bovary, all my other Realistic references are brazilian and portuguese, and all of them revolve around romances (Except for one) I will list down my subjects of study:

    Dom Casmurro (Autobiography of a man who swears his wife has been lying to him all his life and had an affair with his late friend)
    The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (Autobiography of a dead man)
    Cousin Bazilio (The story of a married woman who has an affair with her cousin. My favorite part about it is how she builds an incredibly romantic image of her cousin, and when things tighten up reality hits her like hard, cold stone)
    The Crime of Father Amaro (A Priest who seduces and causes the death of a young church girl)

    Those are the ones that come to mind right now. I've taken special liking to the author of the first two, Machado de Assis. I've read a lot of his short stories, and i found him my inspiration to study Realism further.

    I haven't fully studied Modernism, but the only thing about it that caught my eye so far was the poetry. I read a pre-modernist book last year titled Clara dos Anjos, and the descriptions are incredibly long, the proper action takes place in the last 5 pages, and the only thing i liked about it was the thematic (Women with lower level of education being manipulated into thinking that the local playboy is hot)

    The reason the thematic i chose to Realism was quite unusual was exactly because i haven't seen it done before, and i saw it as a challenge. If i succeed, great. If i fail, i can move on since my public isn't that big anyway. I could link it to you, but a heads up that it's illustrated :)
     
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