Etymologically, the word “fiction” is derived from the Latin word “fictus,” which means “form.” According to Searle (1979), works of fiction result from an author's intention to perform a particular sort of illocutionary act. In the same vein, fiction is produced when authors of stories intend that readers may believe the stories are true (Currie, 1990). In literature, fiction is significant in describing imaginary events and people. This branch of literature consists of stories, novels, novellas, screenplays, and dramas based on made-up and fabricated stories and characters. Fiction can aid the presentation of truth, as the conjuring up of the past requires art and information (White 2005).

Fiction as a Genre

Fiction contains certain symbolic and thematic features known as “literary merits.” In other words, it narrates a story which aims at something more significant than merely a story. Fiction is structured in prose and narrative forms. Prose is a text written or spoken with the pattern of ordinary or everyday language without a metrical structure. While narrative fiction is composed in verse and is very common among ancient writers, overwhelmingly presenting their stories in prose, to the point that most readers today would be baffled if they encountered fiction written in verse. By far, the most popular genres of prose fiction nowadays are novels and short stories. The distinction between the two is simple: short stories are short, and novels are long. Any other difference that we might be able to find between these two genres of narrative is derived from the structuring of stories in them.

Fiction is a term used to denote anything, mainly stories or accounts that are not real. Abram and Harpham (2009) explained that fiction is any literary narrative invented instead of an account of events that happened, whether in prose or verse. In a narrower sense, however, fiction denotes only narratives written in prose (the novel and short story) and sometimes is used simply as a synonym for the novel. Fiction is, therefore, any form of narrative that deals, in part or whole, with events that are not factual but imaginary and invented by its author. Apart from the general meaning of fiction as nonfactual accounts, it is also used to denote a significant branch of literature, especially the novel and drama or other theatrical presentations in the cinematic and musical mode. The important thing is that the story could be more factual and accurate in the self-imposition of stories (Young, 2002). It is just reflecting the reality or the factual thing in the story. The story in prose fiction is invented by the writer but is presented realistically for a wider readership.


Abrams, M. H., & Harpham, G. G. (2009). A Glossary of Literary Terms. Stamford: Cengage Learning.

Currie, G. (1990). The Nature of Fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Searle, J. R. (1979). The Logical Status of Fictional Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

White, H. (2005). Introduction: Historical Fiction, Fictional History, and Historical Reality. Rethinking History, 9(2-3), 147-157.

Young, J. O. (2002). Making It Up: A Definition of Fiction Author(s). The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly, 51, 23-40.