If you think ordinary lives are too boring to write about, these books should change your mind

Realistic fiction as a style of storytelling has been popular only since the 1700s. Storytellers of the past often relied on supernatural events, talking animals, mystical beings, sorcery and such in their stories. In contrast, modern authors write about time travel, alternative histories, robot companions and aliens. Perhaps, many storytellers find ordinary lives too boring to write about?

The realistic fiction movement gained ground in the 1800s, driven to some extent by authors, who wanted to widen the reach of their books. Authors like Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility), Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist and David Copperfield) and Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, Detective) wrote stories about the "common man" (or woman) of their time. They believed that this way their stories would be more accessible to the newly-educated classes and first generation learners. Looking at their body of work, it’s hard to argue that they were wrong.

Today, however, the genre has expanded into different sub-genres dealing with stories of different kinds of people: ordinary people, the differently-abled, those who have overcome great obstacles, people who deal with small obstacles in an unusual way, others who want to change the world and yet others who won’t even change their bed sheets.

They are seemingly real people with seemingly real stories. We laugh with them, we feel their pain and we rush through the pages as they try to pull themselves out of a tough spot. Why not? They could just as easily be us!

Here’s a fun activity for you that you can share with classmates:

Take out your pens and notebooks. In five minutes, write down three things about yourselves; two should be true and one must be fictional. Here are some rules:

1. Choose facts that are less known, something your classmates are not aware of. For example, if you are in the sixth standard, do not say ‘I study in the sixth standard ’.

2. The fictional point should be believable. For example, do not say ‘I have the ability to fly’. Make your lie as believable as possible. For example you might say, ‘I have never flown in an aeroplane’.

Here's an example: Student X's three points are:

A. I am afraid of spiders

B. I have eaten locusts.

C. I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue.

After a student has read out his or her points, the class gets to guess which points are facts and which is fiction.

Make your fiction as realistic as possible. Have fun!

Courtesy: Book Lovers Program for Schools (blps.in)

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