Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#1
Forget about the real world and all its problems and step into the world of fiction, where superhero fight supervillains, mechs fight monsters, and magic space wizards fire a photon torpedo straight down an exhaust port.

Now step back for a moment. While yes, some of these do make amazing stories, some go over the top with what they're portraying, sending out some star killer that becomes a planet killer that only fired once and somehow didn't kill the mass majority of said faction's manpower. 

So the question to ask is this. At what point do you say: "Hey, that's not realistic enough to work. You can't just build a super-duper omega laser killing weapon that only targets kittens with no repercussions."

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#2
We want verisimilitude, not realism.  It's an important difference, though even more so in games than fiction.  Verisimilitude means something seems true in the sense of being believable.  Specifically things in a storyhave to feel truthy in the context of the story and the larger context of the story's genre, not the context of reality.  That's why slapstick cartoons don't get rejected by everyone as too unrealustic when characters can temporarily stand in midair or survive being flattened into a pancake.  Star Wars spent plenty of screen time setting up that one vulnerability on the death star, and the bad guys have been portrayed as kinda incompetent throughout the series because they aren't 'blessed' by the force.

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#3
Time travel as a plot device, omnipotent/omniscient characters, and plotbending are the big 3 I am 100% unwilling to suspend my disbelief on.

Once consequence-free time travel is shown to be a thing in your universe, any time a problem isn't solved by simply undoing it with time travel is now unbelievable. You've robbed any future conflict of agency. Additionally, pandora's box has been opened: Now that people know time travel is possible, it stands to reason that it will be discovered by other people in your universe. That's a can of worms with some worldbreaking implications. I can sort of forgive this one if its established that time travelling doesn't alter the future, but creates multiverses.

Omnipotence/Omniscience for the same reason as above. If the omnipotent character helps even once in the story and then never again, I'm left wondering why they even bothered to help the first time. If they have to keep helping solve things, then now I'm wondering why they don't just fix the root cause of the problems and now I just don't like the story based on that. More accurately, I am not a fan of "the superpowered bystander" who knows they could fix the plot easily but choose not to for no good reason.


And plotbending is when the plot says something is gonna happen with no consideration to the world. Prime example: I am unwilling to suspend my disbelief that a rational adult would give a 13 year old (or however old Hermoine was in Azkaban) a device that literally bends the fabric of space and time.

LitRPG as a genre is also really bad about that last one. A lot of stories give their MCs cheats and other broken abilities that should feasibly be possible for anyone in that universe to do. Another example of this is Shiro's Contract Magic in Log Horizon. Any one who is a high level scribe can use the same magic. Again, it's pandora's box. Once you've established a thing is possible, anyone in the world can use it.

TLDR: Don't break consistency in a blatantly obvious manner, and I'll probably take whatever you throw at me.

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#5
People have different needs. Sometimes you just want an epic with BS magic and sometimes a hard dark fantasy or hard sci fi dystopian novel iis what you crave for.

In the end what matters IMO is the inner coherence of the story. 

If you said magic was only good for x and required y to be done, you can't later introduce out of nowhere z to break your system. 
Same goes with internal coherence of characters. A non violent character will have to have a deep motivation to get violent etc... 

Some people want a story about realism, where you have to oil your armor and sword lest rust and mold will make wearing them a torture. Some just want your female fighter to wear magic bikini armor. 
Some want you to explain how you hero is able to refine oil, some want him to be able to cast "produce gasoline out of thin air". 

The only rule in all case being "keep it coherent inside of the story". 

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#7
Above all I look for consistency in a story. The battles, interactions, and everything else in the story must stay within the framework established for the world and characters. Does that framework need to be realistic? No, but it does need to make sense. The posts above have already mentioned several plot devices that don't make any sense. Seeing stuff like that in a story just ruins it for me.

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#8
I would say it depends on the genre and the feel I want for the story. 

That said I think it is more important to stay with the level, minor fluctuations are unavoidable sometimes, but if you are doing gritty war time story with realistic injuries of war and then boom the next chapter is filled to the bring with stuff you might expect to see on something like teen titans go it's not going to do well in my mind.

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#10
More than if you were writing non-fiction.  In non-fiction whatever happened actually happened. Someone drops a heavy rock and a light rock off a tower and the hit the ground at the same time against all logic that says otherwise, so you are forced to believe it.  However in fiction it isn't that easy, you have to convince me to suspect my disbelief and accept that those light rocks fall just as the heavy ones.

Of course readers are willing to suspend disbelief, but don't push it too far.  That is why everyone else said consistency with various examples that amount to all solutions need to be available to everyone all the time.

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#11
I don't think realism is necessarily as important as consistency. Star Wars is "unrealistic" almost all the time, but the audience doesn't care because the setting is a soft sci-fi world where the rules of reality rarely apply. People can accept lightsabers, easy interstellar travel, sound and fire in outer space, etc, because even though it isn't realistic, it fits the genre and tone of the story. But if you took all of those things and put them into a hard sci-fi franchise where the science is typically well-researched and accurate, those same people would be upset. My general view on realism is that you can write about unrealistic things all you want, but you have to establish them first; you can't have magic or FTL travel suddenly pop up out of nowhere, and you should usually stick to whatever "rules" you've established about how the world works—if you've said that Magic A works a certain way, you can't have Magic A work a completely different way a few chapters later because you wrote yourself into a corner. We all know that magic isn't real, and nobody is expecting your spells to follow the laws of physics, but they should follow the laws of your universe. 

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#12
As many others have said, internal consistency is the most important thing. If the laws of your universe are contradictory and confusing, that will take the reader out of your story quite easily ^O^

It also depends on your audience. If you're writing a historical fiction set during the American revolution, you had better cite the right year for the Battle of Gettysburg (1863), or your readers will rip you apart, since they know this niche topic very well.

DrakanGlasses

So you could say that different aspects of your story require different amounts of realism. You might be able to get away with having a superhero protect himself with a shield of diamond when the villain swings a magma hammer, even though diamonds lose integrity at high heat. In this case, it doesn't matter if the diamonds would actually burn up: diamonds = strong. It's a superhero story, of course that works!

peoapproval

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#14


B.A. Wrote: Time travel as a plot device, omnipotent/omniscient characters, and plotbending are the big 3 I am 100% unwilling to suspend my disbelief on.

Once consequence-free time travel is shown to be a thing in your universe, any time a problem isn't solved by simply undoing it with time travel is now unbelievable. You've robbed any future conflict of agency. Additionally, pandora's box has been opened: Now that people know time travel is possible, it stands to reason that it will be discovered by other people in your universe. That's a can of worms with some worldbreaking implications. I can sort of forgive this one if its established that time travelling doesn't alter the future, but creates multiverses.

Omnipotence/Omniscience for the same reason as above. If the omnipotent character helps even once in the story and then never again, I'm left wondering why they even bothered to help the first time. If they have to keep helping solve things, then now I'm wondering why they don't just fix the root cause of the problems and now I just don't like the story based on that. More accurately, I am not a fan of "the superpowered bystander" who knows they could fix the plot easily but choose not to for no good reason.


And plotbending is when the plot says something is gonna happen with no consideration to the world. Prime example: I am unwilling to suspend my disbelief that a rational adult would give a 13 year old (or however old Hermoine was in Azkaban) a device that literally bends the fabric of space and time.

LitRPG as a genre is also really bad about that last one. A lot of stories give their MCs cheats and other broken abilities that should feasibly be possible for anyone in that universe to do. Another example of this is Shiro's Contract Magic in Log Horizon. Any one who is a high level scribe can use the same magic. Again, it's pandora's box. Once you've established a thing is possible, anyone in the world can use it.

TLDR: Don't break consistency in a blatantly obvious manner, and I'll probably take whatever you throw at me.





I agree, that's actually why the unbreakable laws in the fic I'm writing were the first things I brainstormed. I feel like litRPG is a genre with a lot of potential, but it's too easy to start relying on the "system" as a crutch by which you can handwave away any inconsistencies.

Re: Realism. How much do we really want?

#15

Strif3 Wrote: I agree, that's actually why the unbreakable laws in the fic I'm writing were the first things I brainstormed. I feel like litRPG is a genre with a lot of potential, but it's too easy to start relying on the "system" as a crutch by which you can handwave away any inconsistencies.



Actually, LitRPG doesn't get a pass on breaking internal consistency through handwaving. I'm gonna make a hot take: but the fact that LitRPG tends to break consistencies is a symptom of bad writing, plain and simple. And we shouldn't excuse bad writing.

In fact, because LitRPGs tend to hold to an explicitly defined "system" through the use of number crunching and statboxes, they should be more rigid in their consistencies than other fantasy genres, especially when it comes to how players are scaled and balanced around each other. Especially if you claim your story's world is an MMO and you introduce other players, you need to be careful what "broken strong tools" you give your main characters, because literally any other player in the world should have access to those tools if they meet the requirements as the main character—that is the defining feature of an MMO. If they can't, then either your story's system isn't an MMO or the "players" are actually NPCs.