Κολέγιο CITY College
Main Campus, Thessaloniki, Greece
04 April 2019

The English Studies Department Delves into the Fundamentals of Fiction

The English Studies Department focuses on an array of areas such as linguistics, teaching, translation as well as literature. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that our students would want more exposure and insight. Dr. Cathy Marazi delivered the seminar Fiction 101: Knowing and Understanding the Basics on 2nd April with the following two aims: raise awareness towards the fundamentals of fiction and consider them from an analytic/interpretive perspective as well as a creative writing one.

Dr. Cathy Marazi delivered the seminar Fiction 101: Knowing and Understanding the Basics on 2nd April at CITY College International Faculty

We all experience fiction in one form or another on a daily basis and each of us has his/her personal preferences. Some enjoying reading a good novel, others like the weekly routine of viewing the latest episode of their favorite TV series and others anxiously await the release of a particular film they’ve been waiting months for. In all cases, we experience a Fiction: a thing made, shaped, molded, formed, designed or feigned.

As readers or viewers we may be aware to certain degree or unaware of various components that assist in creating the story we are experiencing. The plot – how the story is told – is one basic feature. To tell a story chronologically would be to recount what one did yesterday. To use flashforwards or flashbacks, to begin narration in media res or to delay and digress the sequence of events can make a story engaging, complex or simply alluring. That being said, watch out for plot-holes or lack of consistent and logically causality in the sequence of events.

Of course, any story would be incomplete without characters whether life-like, mythical or magical. One may find flat characters a bit static and good to experience every so often but the round, dynamic characters are the ones we may manage to identify with, the ones that may attract us or make us think more about a topic or issue. Even if we don’t have a favorite character – one that we identify with – we can say with much more ease if we have a character we despise.

Characters and plot sequences also require a setting: a physical location (interior or exterior), in a geographical location or fantastic place complete with sociocultural features. The setting though perceived by many as the backdrop can actually mirror, mold and shape its characters. It can reveal information about them, challenge them, affect them or even act as an actual character itself.

All this appears relatively simple so far but not if we begin to contemplate the interrelationship of the aforementioned items and many more. Narrator in written types of fiction has always been considered challenging and complicated, knowing who speaks, from what perspective and whether or not they can be trusted or if they are reliable in the information they are divulging. Matters can become even more complicated with figurative language like irony in addition to other types (e.g. metaphor, symbolism). Not to mention the matter of genre – the type of story we are experiencing. Though useful for matters of categorization and what to expect from a story, creators often combine genres (hybrids) or even subvert them thus reversing our expectations and offering a critique through a different perspective.

Though one seminar cannot touch upon all aspects of fiction it can unveil the necessity of exposure to different types and kinds of fiction whether one wants to analyse and interpret fiction or produce one’s own fiction. Who would ever consider Shakespeare and Hip Hop together? And yet, exposure and experience can spark ideas, help create connections and association between types of fiction as well as provide insight to strategies, techniques and styles of writing of renowned authors we continue to read even today.

 

 

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