Some people like to read about real life, non-fiction, biographies etc. Others like fantasy, sci-fi or historical fiction. There are more genres than I can count… well I have to admit I haven’t actually counted them. However, there are lots!
My son and I have always enjoyed sci-fi. When he was younger he read it almost exclusively. Over the years he has graduated to other genres, broadening his horizons.
Is there such a difference between all the genres? Fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, historical, political…. The endless list. Are they all the same in some sense?
In some ways they are as different as night and day. In one sense, every story ever told has a similar thread.
The human condition.
Down through time, humans have the same basic needs, both physical and emotional. Food, shelter, clothing and to love and be loved.
So, whether the story is of a person who is or has actually lived, or a fictional character, the hopes, desires, loves, hates and the complexities of relationships remain the same. It is simply told in a different way. Even if it is in a “land far, far away” and / or “a long time ago”.
The idea of a personality ARC, where our characters learn and grow, mimics real life. In some areas of life we learn, mature, and change with ease. Other times we learn from “the school of hard knocks”, the struggles of others or simply out of necessity of survival.
Fictional character growth and change never comes out of nothing. As writers, our own experiences as those of the people around us, provide the basis. Even research into those who have suffered or experienced what we know our character has still comes from human experiences.
Putting our mind and heart as well as the shoes of our characters, we are better able to bring to life their fears, struggles, passions, anxieties etc.
Eons from now, the genres will change. Life will have changed. The Human Experience will continue to be the fuel to writer’s imaginations.