Bookish Chat : Keep It Real!

May 23, 2019 Bookish chat 13

Let’s talk about how it important a realistic storyline is to you.  How much do you want the author to keep it real.  I know I’m reading fiction, but I still need things to make sense.  Or it grates on me no end.

Bookish Chat

One of my biggest complaints when reading a book is that X isn’t realistic or that Y would never happen in real life.  But invariably when I mention that to my husband or a friend, they will say:

  • Yes, BUT isn’t it fiction?  
  • What about poetic licence?  
  • Can’t you just go with the flow?  
  • Can’t you stop being so critical?

And the answer is no, I can’t!

I need the author to Keep It Real

I need my fiction to be grounded in reality or else I’m so busy picking holes in the plot that I lose interest in actually following the plot.  In a fantasy book, I need the world-building to make sense, in a dystopia I need to understand why society developed that way, in a contemporary YA I need the characters to talk like people of that age should.  You get the picture.  I need to believe in the possibility of what I’m reading before I can allow myself to get swept away.

When things don’t add up or characters are one-dimensional or are unrealistically perfect; I can’t make myself believe.  Of course I don’t need books to imitate real life exactly, that would be boring. And I love creative spins but as long as they are grounded in events that logically make sense.

For example

I remember one time I read a book (Awake) and the main character couldn’t  remember anything from before the age of 4 and this caused her huge concern.  Which annoyed me no end.  Most people can’t remember before the age of 4!  I can’t and I never think twice about it.  So I don’t buy that it’s this huge deal.  Now if the age was moved to 8, that would feel a lot more realistic and would ring alarm bells and make me feel a lot more empathy for the character.  Instead I just snarled inside every time they referenced it.

I need logic

I think that book blogging has made a much more critical reader than I used to be.  Before I used to accept things in books at face value but now I challenge them all the time as I read them.  And I like that, I like that I’m evolving as a reader as I enjoy that books make me think outside the box and use the logical side of my brain.  But that means I’m also far more likely to jump on inconsistencies and think through sequences in books to see if they make sense.

#bookbloggers need an #amreading break? Come talk to me about how important a realistic storyline is to you? #bookchat Click To Tweet

And when they don’t, it grates on me!  And it doesn’t just apply to realistic fiction, it applies to all fiction for me.  I need things to be logical or someway believable.  I find it hard to suspend disbelief and follow blindly along.  Surely I’m not alone in this?

Talk to Trish
Do you care if a book is realistic or not? Does it take from your enjoyment of the book?

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13 Responses to “Bookish Chat : Keep It Real!”

  1. Liz @ Bent Bookworm

    Yes! Realism – whether in setting, or emotions, is very important to the enjoyment of a book. I go into a book expecting to have to suspend a certain amount of disbelief – an author’s use of accurate, logical, realistic descriptions and events as much as possible can help a lot with letting me completely lose myself in the story.
    Liz @ Bent Bookworm recently posted…A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1)

  2. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog

    I need it to be fairly realistic. I can forgive a thing or two that is a little unbelievable. But if there is something super crazy I might be bothered.

  3. Cynthia

    I need it to be at least 80% realistic and I do keep reminding myself that it is fiction:) But I hear you and what a great post!

  4. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. I read almost 100% contemporary so yes realism is a big thing for me. But there are times when I’m willing to :just go with it.” I mean, not for anything crazy, but I’m willing to let a few things slide because I know it’s fiction and if the author needs to make small adjustments here and there for the story, I’m okay with it.
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…WWW Wednesday #51 | May 22, 2019

  5. Kathryn Trask

    I have about three to four memories of when I was under the age of four! Good ones though. Yeah I don’t think I read quite as closely as yourself, but if something hit me in the face as being unreal I’d not be that happy about it. That’s when I am reading realistic fiction of course.

  6. Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

    I want some plausibility or at least for the author to make me belive. Urban Fantasy and PN aside, I am more apt to feel that way in historical fiction or current fiction. I want my apocalyptic tales to scare the bejesus out of me because I can imagine it happening.

    Now romance I am most forgiving of. LOL To me its fantasy 🙂

  7. Angela

    I think I would agree with you, Trish! I want a story to be realistic so I can relate to it. I’m ok with a couple things being not-so-realistic, because I want my books to be more interesting than my own life, but I also want things to make sense!

  8. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I think the memory thing would have bothered me too. I don’t expect everything to be completely realistic and I’m willing to deal with a certain amount of unbelievability if the book is entertaining enough as long as the thing that drives the plot makes sense. A conflict that is clearly nonsensical or a mystery solved because of an enormous coincidence drives me crazy.
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Friday Fives – Five Random Library Picks

  9. Sam@wlabb

    I am a HUGE contemporary reader. I would safely guess that 97 – 98% of the books I read are contemporary. However, I am a fiction reader, and I am ok with suspending belief when I read a book. I only get mad, when they mess up real world things. This author kept saying that Simon & Garfunkel sang “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover”, which is not correct, and it really bugged me, but I am ok with the characters doing something unrealistic.

  10. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    This is so funny because when I read what you wrote about Awake, it sounded so familiar that I wondered for a moment if I’d already read this post. And then I realized that, no, I was thinking of MY review of the book. I went back and reread it (it’s hidden now since I wasn’t a fan of the book) and I have this whole little section where I rant about how they put so much emphasis on the fact that the main character doesn’t remember anything from before she was four and they keep calling it amnesia. Not remembering things from before you were four isn’t amnesia it’s … being human. That bugged me the whole book!!

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