I'm a big fan of realistic fiction, which is why majority of my manuscripts fall into that category. Don't get me wrong: I love fantasy and sci fi and magical stories, too. I even wrote a couple of manuscripts containing magical elements before I realized that it just wasn't my strength. But contemporary, realistic middle grade is my passion.
I think realistic fiction in general has the risk of appearing boring. Magical stories might deal with grand conflicts such as defeating an evil wizard or saving an entire planet from destruction. By comparison, a realistic manuscript's plot revolving around failed friendships, complicated relationships, or trouble at school/work (as examples) might seem a little too... ordinary. (Though, of course, there are genres such as suspense and mystery that are both realistic and intense. I just tend to write quieter stories.)
But here are some things I love about writing and reading realistic fiction:
- That I've-so-been-there feeling, when a character does something that you can totally relate to. As a writer, I like to pull things from personal experience and incorporate them into a story.
- That I-feel-like-I-know-you-from-somewhere feeling, when characters and settings feel so real to you. I remember feeling like this as a kid when reading the Babysitter's Club books. Kristy and Claudia and everyone may as well have been girls I went to school with.
- That I-can't-stop-laughing feeling. I love a humorous book that causes me to reread the funny parts a second and third time. I'm looking at you, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
Of course, the above list is applicable to fantasy and magical books, too. But since I read way more realistic fiction, I experience the above much more frequently with that genre.
What are your thoughts on realistic fiction? Do you tend to read/write it, or do you favor sci-fi/fantasy/magical stories?