Romance vs. Realism

An great interview with George R R Martin over on the Weird Tales site. I’m in continual awe of GRRM’s skills as a writer, so I’m something of a hound for anything he says about his approach to crafting stories.

The real differences, to my mind, is between romantic fiction, which all these genres are a part of, and mimetic fiction, or naturalistic fiction.”

I’m interested by his use of the term romantic to describe whats more usually called fantastic or imaginative fiction. The modern definition of romance is quite far removed from the terms historical root.

The wikipedia entries for romance and romanticism are good reminders of the terms real meaning. Romance is about exploring the outer limits of human passions and emotions. Its that romantic tradition which has lost ground in contemporary literature and finds its home instead in genres like SF and Fantasy.

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Director of creative writing at UoL, published with OUP and Cambridge. Currently travelling the world and writing a book.

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