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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 12:15 pm 
Avisaru
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oh yeah, that's a point.

I said SF very carefully to mean "speculative fiction", not "science fiction".


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 12:59 pm 
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Pthug wrote:
oh yeah, that's a point.

I said SF very carefully to mean "speculative fiction", not "science fiction".
I knew what you meant, I heard your intonation. :mrgreen:

Every so often I will shorten it to "SpecFic" which tends to make people wonder why I'm saying "specific".

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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 1:01 pm 
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I'd hate to get all post-structuralist, or whatever, here, but there is something that is "mainstream" fiction; I'm not sure what it is because, like Whiteness in America, it is never defined by what it is, only by what it isn't (Black People).

It is my feeling that Zerrakhi's comment about speaking with an accent is actually pretty close to the point.


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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 9:19 am 
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hwhatting wrote:
Mashmakhan wrote:
But I will say this: narratives do seem to be more common in works of fiction than works of non-fiction. Historical dramas tend to be more about conveying a record of non-statistical data ([size=9]I.e. qualitative information[size]) than about telling a story because, whether you like it or not, it still happened. So it clearly didn't cater to anyone's interests. In considering this, maybe people read fiction for the story-telling aspect and non-fiction for the referential aspect? If I pull out a historical drama on...say, World War II, I am probably trying to find a piece of information to fulfill an inquiry I have, rather than to entertain myself with a story.

I don't follow. When I read historical drama or novels, I do it for mostly the same reasons I'd read other works of fiction - I'm interested in the narrative, the characters, the athmosphere, the setting. There may be the added benefit of learning more about a certain period, but that's an aspect that one needs to be careful about - historical reliability can vary very much in such works, and by definition, parts of the contrent are made up - otherwise it would be history or biography. And yes, the overall outcome of history cannot be changed - otherwise you'd have an AH novel. But the narrative in such works often concerns made-up characters, to whom all kinds of things can happen that are caused but not determined by the overall sweep of historical events (e.g., I just finished reading Amin Maalouf's "Samarkand", and although it doesn't change the outcome of the Persian Constitutional Revolution, and although everyone knows that the Titanic is going to sink, the fates of the narrator and of princess Shireen become clear (or not) only at the end).


The difference being you know what happened. The story might be just as interesting, but it's still written in stone. That was the distinction I was trying to make between fiction and non-fiction. History is fact; it may have been falsified to some degree in some records, but it still really happened and there is still a pre-set way in which the story will turn out because it has already happened. The author of a truly historical narrative can't make anything up. The very notion that a historical drama can be falsified proves that it is not fiction.

Shinali Sishi wrote:
Also, Mashmakan, your setting is speculative fiction. It's not fantasy, it could pass for soft sci fi if it isn't too history based. If it's really historical and uses Earth history at all it's alt-history.


I am thinking it probably is speculative fiction after all. While I am not sure exactly how far "SpecFic" can go, I think this may qualify. It is set in sort of a saga format so I called it a historical drama. Aside from that, it's purely fictitious and doesn't have anything to do with Earth or what happened in real life. I will need to look into the speculative fiction genre some more but my story would probably either go into that or soft sci-fi.

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If it is historically set but on another planet with no sci fi or fantasy elements it's just plain odd.


:oops:

That does sound odd. I suppose there are a few scientists and science writers who have written about Mars' geological history but that is probably guaranteed to go into scientific nonfiction and my story definately doesn't belong in there.

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The publisher will probably put it in sci fi/fantasy with neither a planet nor a tree on the cover. Or it'll get put in literary fiction because th publisher doesn't know where else to put it (I am reading a series now that crosses so many major and minor genre lines that it is put in Fiction, not any of the genres). In short, let the publisher worry about it.


That sounds like a good idea. I would rather not have to care about these things. The only thing I do worry about is having the novel(s) overlooked by people who want to read something like it but are looking in the wrong genre. That is why I wanted to know where they would look if they wanted to read something like it. Likewise, those who do find the novel(s) might expect something else. So I (or my publisher) also run the risk of putting my story in the wrong genre setting or one that doesn't typify what the story is going to be about.

Pthug wrote:
I said SF very carefully to mean "speculative fiction", not "science fiction".


Must have been a matter of slight ambiguity then. "SF" has the same kind of abbreviation for both speculative fiction and science fiction, and they can cover the same sorts of things. If you had not heard of speculative fiction as a distinct genre in its own right, it would be very easy to think you meant science fiction instead. But thanks for the heads-up. I need to look into "SpecFic" some more now.


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 7:23 am 
Smeric
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Mashmakhan wrote:
The difference being you know what happened. The story might be just as interesting, but it's still written in stone. That was the distinction I was trying to make between fiction and non-fiction. History is fact; it may have been falsified to some degree in some records, but it still really happened and there is still a pre-set way in which the story will turn out because it has already happened. The author of a truly historical narrative can't make anything up. The very notion that a historical drama can be falsified proves that it is not fiction.


Well, in a historical drama there is stuff you have to adhere to (e.g. Julius Caesar gets murdered), but the author can do whatever he wants to personage he either invents or about whose further fate nothing is known to history. If you take e.g. "Quo Vadis", you have historical figures like Petronius, Nero, and St. Peter & Paul, and invented figures. The fate of the invented figures is wide open; only the actions and traits of the historical figures can be "falsified". But even their actions are only determined to the degree that they have to be in agreement with what we know historically, which still leaves ample leeway for how they can influence the fate of the invented protagonists. If you wouldn't have these elements, you would have a work of history or biography.

Technical question - I seem to have problems embedding links, which worked normally previously. Is anyone else having the same problem?


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 1:33 pm 
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hwhatting wrote:
Mashmakhan wrote:
The difference being you know what happened. The story might be just as interesting, but it's still written in stone. That was the distinction I was trying to make between fiction and non-fiction. History is fact; it may have been falsified to some degree in some records, but it still really happened and there is still a pre-set way in which the story will turn out because it has already happened. The author of a truly historical narrative can't make anything up. The very notion that a historical drama can be falsified proves that it is not fiction.


Well, in a historical drama there is stuff you have to adhere to (e.g. Julius Caesar gets murdered), but the author can do whatever he wants to personage he either invents or about whose further fate nothing is known to history. If you take e.g. "Quo Vadis", you have historical figures like Petronius, Nero, and St. Peter & Paul, and invented figures. The fate of the invented figures is wide open; only the actions and traits of the historical figures can be "falsified". But even their actions are only determined to the degree that they have to be in agreement with what we know historically, which still leaves ample leeway for how they can influence the fate of the invented protagonists. If you wouldn't have these elements, you would have a work of history or biography.


The fact that we don't know exactly what the actions and behaviours of a certain person in history were, based on historical record (or even by word of mouth), should not exclude the notion that they did do things, know people, and behave in certain ways not covered by history but that still happened. Those things are still there, so if we change that by putting alternate events into the record for story purposes, we are, in effect, turning the record into fiction. I believe there is a genre called "historical fiction" - though I could be wrong - that is seperate from true historical dramas. But these stories still do have a historical context so they are still different from a work of complete fiction that is set up in a historical fashion. way.

I have to say I agree with Shinali Sishi now, the more I think about it. My story could just be considered speculative fiction plain and simple. I am still not sure what the general characteristics (?) of "SpecFic" are, but it sounds like something I could be compelled to agree with if a publisher or a reader decided that was where it belonged.

I always liked the type of historic-style of prose that Tolkien used when writing about Middle Earth. He knew he was the only narrator and that his work was completely fictitious, but he treated it like record of an actual sequence of events that you might find in a history book. I had always wanted my stories and the conworld it was set in to have that sort of quality. My conworld isn't fantasy, though. Or atleast I hope it isn't considered as such. It would be nice if there was an actual genre for that kind of story so that people would have a better idea of what to expect when they read my story. Then again, maybe I'm just being too particular (?) about the whole thing.

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Technical question - I seem to have problems embedding links, which worked normally previously. Is anyone else having the same problem?


This is because the URL you are using has brackets in it. For some reason the BB code tags won't recognize it as a URL so it turns the URL into normal text. This has happened to me quite a few times now with Wikipedia. My answer has been to type something else related to the name of the article I want to link to and then be redirected to the right article. The article would be there, but the alternate web address would still be in the address bar. It doesn't seem to work in your case so instead I would suggest you take the brackets out of the web address and see what happens. With luck you should be redirected to the page you want to link to. If you aren't redirected to the article, you will either need to remove the tags or choose a page outside of Wikipedia to link to. Sorry.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:30 am 
Smeric
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Mashmakhan wrote:
I believe there is a genre called "historical fiction" - though I could be wrong - that is seperate from true historical dramas. But these stories still do have a historical context so they are still different from a work of complete fiction that is set up in a historical fashion.


Can you give me examples for the differntiation you introduce between "historical drama" and "historical fiction"? Where would you put (say) "Quo Vadis"? Where Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar"? Dürrenmatt's "Romulus Augustulus"?

(And thanks for the posting tip!)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:43 am 
Lebom
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Pretty much any historical story that appears on film, TV, the radio, a book, etc., is going to be fictitious. We can't possibly know everything that person or those people did every waking second, so to fill up the story the author or narrator makes up the parts of the story not told. Therefore, I would put Quo Vadis, Julius Caesar and Romulus Augustulus all into historical fiction.

Pretty much the only way you are going to get a true historical drama is if the story was told by someone who was actually in it. There are many WW2 stories that count as historical dramas because there are still people around today who can give you an eyewhitness account of what really happened.

Biographies can also be historical dramas if they are significant or exciting/extraordinary enough.

As for historical records, I suppose they could become historical dramas if the story was faithful enough to what actually happened. Take Marco Polo, for instance. If he had written enough about his travels, you could potentially use his writings to produce a film or a (short) television serial. You just wouldn't be able to fill it in very much to control sequence or episode length.

I had been tempted to call my stories historical dramas because the way in which I was going to set it up would resemble a collection of first- of second- person accounts of events that actually happened to them, or events that they were there to witness. I don't know how far I will get with this, but the point being that it is very difficult (if not even possible) to put in "fillers" when you are not writing in the third-person perspective. Thus I believe, if my stories really did happen, that they would count as true historical dramas. Then again, my entire conworld is set in a fictional place...that is when it gets confusing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:24 am 
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OK, then I have to accept that you use a definition of historical drama totally different from what I have ever seen elsewhere.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:54 am 
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What is the definition you use?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:03 pm 
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I was thinking more about the mythos-logos distinction and its relation to speculative fiction these past few days. It occured to me that science fiction seems to focus on working out the implications of technical problems. Typical questions include what impact artificial intelligence would have on society or whether quantum physics could allow faster than light travel. More generally, science fiction can examine the future of society, our definitions of humanity, or anything else one can debate logically. Works like 1984 or the Left Hand of Darkness don't really pay much attention to technology as such. But they fall under the science fiction banner because they examine and develop premises in a "scientific" manner.

Fantasy, by contrast, focuses more on "spiritual" questions, ones that don't really lend themselves to empirical analysis. These might include the meaning of true love or the nature of divinity. One can't really analyze the temptation of evil in a scientific manner, but they can portray it through metaphor and archetypes. The one ring of LotR, for example, gives concrete form to a metaphysical concept.

As a corrolary, fantasy seems less literal to me than science fiction. The ring in LotR, for example, serves as a symbol of power rather than a concrete device. We aren't supposed to worry about the mechanics of creating evil rings, but rather the temptation of power that they embody. Most writers of fantasy don't worry much about the economic impact that functional magic would have or how the hell dragons fit into a working eco-system. I'd almost say that magic differs from physics precisely in that its mechanics don't matter but rather its thematic role and effect on plot.

This doesn't rule out the possibility of ambiguity or hybrid genres, however. Plenty of science fiction addresses moral questions that technically lie outside of science. Similarly, nothing stops a fantasy writer from examining the effects of magic on society and portraying a realistic ecology.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:02 pm 
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Eddy wrote:
This doesn't rule out the possibility of ambiguity or hybrid genres, however. Plenty of science fiction addresses moral questions that technically lie outside of science. Similarly, nothing stops a fantasy writer from examining the effects of magic on society and portraying a realistic ecology.

Actually, to me a lot of science fiction ("Left Hand of Darkness," "Stranger in a Strange Land") focuses on spiritual questions, and there's fantasy ("The Wheel of Time," "Glory Road") that focuses on the mechanics of things. You can't really break themes down by genre, though often you can by author (Ursula le Guin is usually spiritual.)
Mashmakan wrote:
But I will say this: narratives do seem to be more common in works of fiction than works of non-fiction.

Where is this idea coming from that just because something is non-fiction it doesn't have a narrative? Most non-fiction I read has a narrative, be it historical or whatever. Is there confusion about what a narrative is? Let me put it this way - War and Peace is a story set in the Napoleonic Wars. Fiction. A biography of Napoleon that follows him through the Russian campaign of the Napoleonic Wars also has a narrative. It has nothing to do with whether anything is made up or not. Besides, making things up is only one way an author can put his stamp on a historical story - choosing what to leave in and what to take out has just as much of an effect, and is far more subtle.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:51 am 
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Eddy wrote:
It occured to me that science fiction seems to focus on working out the implications of technical problems. Typical questions include what impact artificial intelligence would have on society or whether quantum physics could allow faster than light travel. More generally, science fiction can examine the future of society, our definitions of humanity, or anything else one can debate logically. Works like 1984 or the Left Hand of Darkness don't really pay much attention to technology as such. But they fall under the science fiction banner because they examine and develop premises in a "scientific" manner.


Science fiction - and other forms of speculative fiction - also examine moral issues of today's world in a different setting. By doing this, they displace the issue from its contemporary context so that audiences don't feel responsible, guilty, or otherwise bothered about what is going on. That was actually the primary goal and concept of the Star Trek series. Sometimes new issues are also introduced that can't be introduced in today's world, like the controversies surrounding A.I. and A.L. As a sub-genre of the larger Speculative Fiction genre, its role is also speculation. The main characteristic of science fiction, I think, is to use scientific speculation as a tool to introduce moral issues in a more ambiguous way.

Eddy wrote:
Fantasy, by contrast, focuses more on "spiritual" questions, ones that don't really lend themselves to empirical analysis. These might include the meaning of true love or the nature of divinity. One can't really analyze the temptation of evil in a scientific manner, but they can portray it through metaphor and archetypes. The one ring of LotR, for example, gives concrete form to a metaphysical concept.

As a corrolary, fantasy seems less literal to me than science fiction. The ring in LotR, for example, serves as a symbol of power rather than a concrete device. We aren't supposed to worry about the mechanics of creating evil rings, but rather the temptation of power that they embody. Most writers of fantasy don't worry much about the economic impact that functional magic would have or how the hell dragons fit into a working eco-system.


Fantasy can also look at technical and literal issues. The effects of humans on a fantasy world are often examined in fantasy. Look at the numerous Final Fantasy series. They tend to be "flavoured" as science fiction, but they are fundamentally fantasy. Much like Star Wars. A popular themes in Final Fantasy are environmental issues that are motivated by human greed. The wrath of an angry god can substitute for a nuclear weapon, and so on. The issues in Fantasy can be very real, they are merely displaced by the genre. As in science fiction. The only real difference I see between the two is the use of scientific consistency and science-based speculation.

Eddy wrote:
I'd almost say that magic differs from physics precisely in that its mechanics don't matter but rather its thematic role and effect on plot.


The difference between magic and physcs is that of substantial explanation for its occurance. Something that seems like magic can be a type of alternate physics in a work of science fiction if it is explained and supported well enough. Science doesn't even need to follow real life natural laws so if we had an alternate system of physics it could seem almost like magic to us. In contrast, a magic system only requires the author or inventor of the system to say "it's magic." It's exactly like a magic show in real life, actually. If you don't know how the tric is done, then it is magic. As soon as you learn how it is done, then it becomes real and is governed by real natural laws. Same principle in fantasy.

Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
Mashmakan wrote:
But I will say this: narratives do seem to be more common in works of fiction than works of non-fiction.

Where is this idea coming from that just because something is non-fiction it doesn't have a narrative? Most non-fiction I read has a narrative, be it historical or whatever. Is there confusion about what a narrative is? Let me put it this way - War and Peace is a story set in the Napoleonic Wars. Fiction. A biography of Napoleon that follows him through the Russian campaign of the Napoleonic Wars also has a narrative. It has nothing to do with whether anything is made up or not. Besides, making things up is only one way an author can put his stamp on a historical story - choosing what to leave in and what to take out has just as much of an effect, and is far more subtle.


For the record, I never said a non-fiction story could not have a narrative. Autobiographies are narratives based on actual occurrances in the author's life. Historical dramas that actually happened can also be narratives because they can be told like a story. As long as it is factual and none of it was made up, then it also counts as a historical drama rather than historical fiction. What was being debated was the distinction between historical drama and historical narrative, and where you draw the line between the two. It is more difficult to make a story out of a sequence of real events without making things up because the account of the events does not always have everything a story needs, like a protagonist, an atagonist, a theme (not always the same as the plot), a moral, etc. The account doesn't always follow the sequence of events that make a good story unless they are altered in some way. Of course then the account would become fiction.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:51 am 
Sanci
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Mashmakhan wrote:
For the record, I never said a non-fiction story could not have a narrative. Autobiographies are narratives based on actual occurrances in the author's life. Historical dramas that actually happened can also be narratives because they can be told like a story. As long as it is factual and none of it was made up, then it also counts as a historical drama rather than historical fiction. What was being debated was the distinction between historical drama and historical narrative, and where you draw the line between the two. It is more difficult to make a story out of a sequence of real events without making things up because the account of the events does not always have everything a story needs, like a protagonist, an atagonist, a theme (not always the same as the plot), a moral, etc. The account doesn't always follow the sequence of events that make a good story unless they are altered in some way. Of course then the account would become fiction.

No, you seem to be under the impression that narratives are optional parts of writing - that some writing has narratives and some doesn't, and the genre defines the probability of that happening. It doesn't. Any time someone is telling a story - from the most speculative fiction to the driest history (based on an author's obsessive adherence to the facts) has a narrative. For example, read Richard Rhodes The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Rhodes is obsessive about following source material - if he can't source that a conversation happened, it's out. It has a narrative, with a protagonist (at any given point, the scientists working on the bomb, though Bohr steals the show at every possible opening) and an antagonist (Hitler.) So that was the idea I was taking issue with, not that non-fiction can't have a narrative, but the equally fallacious idea that it sometimes doesn't have a narrative.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:27 am 
Lebom
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Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
Mashmakhan wrote:
For the record, I never said a non-fiction story could not have a narrative. Autobiographies are narratives based on actual occurrances in the author's life. Historical dramas that actually happened can also be narratives because they can be told like a story. As long as it is factual and none of it was made up, then it also counts as a historical drama rather than historical fiction. What was being debated was the distinction between historical drama and historical [fiction], and where you draw the line between the two. It is more difficult to make a story out of a sequence of real events without making things up because the account of the events does not always have everything a story needs, like a protagonist, an atagonist, a theme (not always the same as the plot), a moral, etc. The account doesn't always follow the sequence of events that make a good story unless they are altered in some way. Of course then the account would become fiction.

No, you seem to be under the impression that narratives are optional parts of writing - that some writing has narratives and some doesn't, and the genre defines the probability of that happening. It doesn't. Any time someone is telling a story - from the most speculative fiction to the driest history (based on an author's obsessive adherence to the facts) has a narrative.


I corrected a typo in my last post in bold. Historical dramas, like other works of nonfiction, have the capacity to become narratives. Narratives don't happen automatically, though. A piece of information needs to be told like a story to be a narrative. It doesn't matter whether it was 100% true or not. If it isn't told like a story, it becomes a non-fictional reference. So yes, narratives are very optional, but the genre does not dictate the possibility for a narrative. I don't know where you are getting this latter idea from.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:19 pm 
Sanci
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Maybe from this:
Mashmakan wrote:
But I will say this: narratives do seem to be more common in works of fiction than works of non-fiction.

And no, I don't mean narratives happen automatically, they just happen to be the way people organize things when they write.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:26 pm 
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Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
Maybe from this:
Mashmakan wrote:
But I will say this: narratives do seem to be more common in works of fiction than works of non-fiction.


That doesn't mean they never occur in non-fiction at all, only that they are rare.

Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
And no, I don't mean narratives happen automatically, they just happen to be the way people organize things when they write.


Not in reference books. Unless the person wants to present the information as a story, it is usually just displayed in topical order depending on the subject matter. Historical dramas are also more often chronologically dated than told as a story, unless they are first-person accounts or the different periods are melded together into one continuous flow of events. Then they become stories. Look through any history book and you will see what I mean.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:11 pm 
Sanci
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Mashmakhan wrote:
Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
Maybe from this:
Mashmakan wrote:
But I will say this: narratives do seem to be more common in works of fiction than works of non-fiction.


That doesn't mean they never occur in non-fiction at all, only that they are rare.

Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
And no, I don't mean narratives happen automatically, they just happen to be the way people organize things when they write.


Not in reference books. Unless the person wants to present the information as a story, it is usually just displayed in topical order depending on the subject matter. Historical dramas are also more often chronologically dated than told as a story, unless they are first-person accounts or the different periods are melded together into one continuous flow of events. Then they become stories. Look through any history book and you will see what I mean.

You weren't talking about reference books, and neither was I - narratives are not rare. The kind of non-fiction you're talking about, even if it's the history of the War of the Roses, will be a narrative. It will be objective, probably historically accurate, and dry to whatever level your particular taste goes, but it will still focus on one or more people ('protagonists'), what they were trying to accomplish ('objectives') and anything that kept them from doing so ('obstacles','antagonists').

You say "look through a history book," so let's take an example. Something that could be in a high school history book, say. "James Garfield was the 20th president of the United States of America. He was nominated during the contentious Republican Convention of 1880, winning the nomination over incumbent president Ulysses Grant. He served until his death on Sept. 19th, 1881, due to complications from being shot by assassin Charles Guiteau on July 2nd, 1881. He was succeeded in office by his vice-president, Chester Arthur."

This is a pretty dry, just-the-facts kind of encyclopedia entry you seem to think is narrative-free. Yet we have a protagonist (Garfield), two antagonists (Grant, Guiteau), two obstacles (the Convention, the assassination. This is a narrative.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:27 am 
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Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
You weren't talking about reference books, and neither was I - narratives are not rare.


Actually, yes I was talking about reference books. The topics of fiction vs. nonfiction and historical fiction vs. historical drama became intertwined. When I say "non-fiction," I mostly mean reference books like those you might read on subjects like mechanics, science, animals, etc., but it can also mean historical dramas as well. I believe that is where this debate became mixed up. Taking all of these subgenres and putting them together under the broad non-fiction genre, you will see that narratives are indeed quite rare.

Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
The kind of non-fiction you're talking about, even if it's the history of the War of the Roses, will be a narrative. It will be objective, probably historically accurate, and dry to whatever level your particular taste goes, but it will still focus on one or more people ('protagonists'), what they were trying to accomplish ('objectives') and anything that kept them from doing so ('obstacles','antagonists').


It doesn't have to be, and in my case it more often isn't. I am more interested in ancient history than I am into modern history and it is more difficult to put together a proper narrative with the records available to you in those cases. Though it can still be done, it is quite rare.

Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
You say "look through a history book," so let's take an example. Something that could be in a high school history book, say. "James Garfield was the 20th president of the United States of America. He was nominated during the contentious Republican Convention of 1880, winning the nomination over incumbent president Ulysses Grant. He served until his death on Sept. 19th, 1881, due to complications from being shot by assassin Charles Guiteau on July 2nd, 1881. He was succeeded in office by his vice-president, Chester Arthur."


And yet that sequence of events can be reconstructed in point form:

- James Garfield was the 20th president of the United States of America.
- James Garfield was nominated for president during the Republican Convention of 1880.
- James Garfield won the nomination for president over president Ulysses Grant.
- James Garfield remained president until his death on Sept. 19th, 1881.
- James Garfield was shot by assassin Charles Guiteau on July 2nd, 1881.
- James Garfield died due to complications after being shot.
- James Garfield was succeeded in office by his vice-president, Chester Arthur.

Each sentence can act on its own as well as all together to form a simple narrative like the way you typed it. I could make the sentences even more basic and literal if I wanted to. Would it still be a narrative? If it can, then I guess I am wrong. In that case you could also call the natural formation of a piece of bedrock, the life cycle of a prehistoric shrimp, or even the recorded use of a dust mop a narrative. A bit over the top if you ask me but I suppose it could be done.

Kai_DaiGoji wrote:
This is a pretty dry, just-the-facts kind of encyclopedia entry you seem to think is narrative-free. Yet we have a protagonist (Garfield), two antagonists (Grant, Guiteau), two obstacles (the Convention, the assassination. This is a narrative.


That was a short yet informative autobiography that I think was either chosen or turned into such for that very purpose. Yes, it was a narrative. Yes, I could probably find something like it in an encyclopedia. No, the style is not rare as far as historical dramas go. But does it represent what an average historical drama is like? No, not unless the person in it is still alive. The historical record you provided was quite well documented, though you would expect that from historical records that are more contemporary with today. Not so easy with older historic records.


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