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Author Topic: What do you look for in fiction?  (Read 779 times)

LTK

What do you look for in fiction?
« on: 20 Oct 2018, 08:10 »

Recently I read that the type of fiction that normally appeals to men is action and adventure, and what normally appeals to women is character-driven drama. I basically dismissed this as another stereotype, but then I talked to someone who also reads a lot of webcomics and found out that her tastes radically diverge from mine even though webcomics are a comparatively niche interest. One of her favourites was a short-ish comic (I forgot the title) about two guys who go on a road trip and fall in love. After I read that, I realised that out of all the webcomics I've ever read, that was the first one that has absolutely no fantastical or supernatural elements about it. It was just about those two guys and how they interact with each other and deal with the circumstances they find themselves in. Thinking about it, maybe there's something to that stereotype after all?

What I like best about fiction isn't really action and adventure, but imagination brought to life. I love nothing more than getting immersed in a fantastical world with its own natural laws, rules, and customs, where things are different than normal and put our own reality into perspective. Stories that use actual reality as a setting aren't as interesting to me. That's why comics like Dresden Codak, Rice Boy, Poppy and Paranatural are some of my favourites. QC has elements of that, with technology and AI creating a very different society, but that's not always the focus and most of the time the stories are more character-driven. Alice Grove was much more world-driven in comparison. Girl Genius is somewhat similar, but much more adventure-like.

Is this dichotomy recognisable to anyone else? Does it make more sense than adventure versus drama? And what are the types of fiction that speak to you the most?
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

Neko_Ali

Re: What do you look for in fiction?
« Reply #1 on: 20 Oct 2018, 12:17 »

The split between 'men like action, women like character drama' has more to do with societal expectations than anything else, to be honest. People are grown up exposed to this concept and those who stray from them at a young age tend to be isolated or punished, which reinforces it. There are plenty of people of both gender who enjoy all kinds of fiction, and works of fiction that cross over between things like action, drama and romance. My favorite kinds of fiction are those that combine these elements, especially if they include or are about queer themes.
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LTK

Re: What do you look for in fiction?
« Reply #2 on: 20 Oct 2018, 12:48 »

I'm sure the societal expectations factor into some things, but I don't think it applies to reading material. Unlike other gendered hobbies like going to movies and doing sports, reading is a very private engagement and if there is societal pressure to reading or not reading certain things, it's much easier to ignore because nobody has to know that you're reading a certain book or webcomic in your own time.

I don't remember that I was more encouraged to read certain kinds of fiction than others as a kid. I definitely read a lot of young adult character dramas and horror stories before I even figured out what kind of stories I liked to read, and I haven't read anything from that genre since. I also had comic books that I really couldn't get into. My book-reading preferences eventually settled on Roald Dahl, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and J.K. Rowling, but it took a long time for me to get there. Once I discovered webcomics I naturally gravitated to those with fantastical or magical worlds like those. If there really were societal expectations for me to like the things I like now, they did a terrible job communicating them.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.

LTK

Re: What do you look for in fiction?
« Reply #3 on: 21 Oct 2018, 13:27 »

Also, this seems relevant: Why You Should Read Fiction.
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Quote from: snalin
I just got the image of a midwife and a woman giving birth swinging towards each other on a trapeze - when they meet, the midwife pulls the baby out. The knife juggler is standing on the floor and cuts the umbilical cord with a a knifethrow.
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