The Truth about Fiction

October 7, 2015 | 1

Leslie Pietrzyk wonders why readers are so eager to assume that a fictional story happened in real life. She asks, “Why is that always the question fiction writers are asked? Why do readers insist on knowing if the story that held them enthralled was ‘real’?”

is an intern for The Millions. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in BOMB, Ploughshares online, Music & Literature, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. She is currently the assistant fiction editor for Washington Square Review. She tweets at @bdantaslobato.

One comment:

  1. Because if it’s real (or has a significant basis in reality), then the story doesn’t end with the last page of the book. I’ve developed interests in submarines, ninja mudras, and Egyptian deities–all because I wanted backstory about fiction I was consuming. One of the “how PBS affects me” slots is a girl who didn’t like to read–had a hard time reading–but fell so much in love with Downton Abbey that she fell in love with the era, and eventually started writing. If there’s reality behind the story, then there’s more to consume about it than what a single author can put in a book. True backstories make for a natural franchise.

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