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TV Tropes Monday: Fictional Document


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Verisimilitude, the art of making the fiction appear real, is something most writers strive for, specially in speculative fiction. Having details that mirror the readers expectations eases their suspension of disbelief. One such world building detail is the Fictional Document, one or more books that exist in universe and are either quoted or referenced by the characters at some point. From private diaries to history books, fictional documents lend a sense of history to the setting. They serve as training manuals for experts, school books for children and treatises of the natural world.

Readers expect that important facts, ideas and concepts will be recorded for posterity and that at least one of the characters will be familiar with these books. It is also an excellent intersection of character and setting. The characters choices in books (that they like or dislike) can show his background, tastes and personality.

And finally they are a great way to deliver a bit of exposition or a clue/foreshadowing of a plot twist later on the story.


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