Non-Traditional Realism

A fictional character’s “reality” consists of not only one narrow “slice” of what they’re focusing on from their POV, but everything else around them being detected by their senses. If from my POV, as I am saying to you across the table, “What do you think you’ll order for dessert”, to term that neat, uninterrupted sentence as representing the “reality” of the speaker, OR the spoken to, is (sorry to be blunt) nonsense.  As I speak to you, I’m hearing snatches of words from other tables; I’m noticing activities occurring one after the other about the range of my eyesight, each of which is provoking a fragment or more of thought in me, simultaneous to the sentence I’m speaking. In short, as I am saying “What do you think you’ll order for dessert?” my mind is churning with reaction to surrounding activity—talk, laugher, clatter, people rushing past, etc. Much but not all of this churning is conscious, much is subconscious. But, if you wanted to dig deep enough, perhaps a novel could be dug from those twenty seconds. What is considered traditional realism filters all out but what the writer decides the reader needs to know to achieve the end purpose of the story. “Non-traditional” realism filters out much less and perhaps in some cases nothing at all. And this is not “experimental” at all, because all the way through reality is being portrayed.


Photography CreditJason Rice