The Appeal of the Slice of Life Genre! Hi everybody, today we’re going to talk about the slice-of-life genre and why it’s appealing. Where does all the appeal come from? Dive in to find out!
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Slice of life is about everyday life
Just like it says on the tin! Slice of Life stories involve characters going on with their everyday lives, chores and errands. Characters meet other people and interact with them. We see lives through certain characters’ eyes, and how they react to certain events.
Weird things (e.g. time travelling) can happen but they are nowhere as dangerous as in high-stakes stories. Weird things can move what little plot there is forward, and can be also used to develop the friendship between two characters or just for simple character development.
Hero’s journey? What’s that?
There’ s no hero’s journey in slice-of-life stories or episode. That means stories are not cyclical and characters rarely do something out of their comfort zone. If there’s a problem, there’s no antagonist and it’s solved through team work. Slice of life stories are LINEAR. The narration can start in the morning and end at night.
Characters interaction can be based around food, games, songs, walking through town or doing chores.
Time to breathe with a breather episodes
In long narratives with many characters and overaching plots, slice-of-life episodes allow the reader/ viewer to…breathe before going on with the main plot. I wrote a slice-of-life story (only available in Italian at the moment) because I wanted my mind and my characters to relax. And to relax the reader as well!
Slice-of-life episodes can be either 100% fillers, clip-shows or very low stakes adventures that allow character development or provide insights between two characters and their relationship.
Feelings and seasonality
Characters can sit together and discuss their feelings and sensation. Seasons are used in their full glory. If it’s summer, it’ll be scorching hot. If it’s winter, the characters will probably talk while drinking some hot cocoa.
Slice of life is extremely common in anime (e.g. Ghibli movies) and it’s also being used by Western writers or screenplayers. It can be found in Western Literature (Joyce’s Ulysses), as well as in Western sitcoms (New Girl and Modern Family) or Western cartoon shows (Ed Edd ‘n’ Eddy and We Bare Bears).
Feel the rain on your skin
Slice of life is also about the five senses and how characters react to certain textures, food or to the weather. A character can walk without an umbrella and then complain about being soaking wet, or a character can also…eat a slide because they (he, in Ed’s case) had a pebble in their (his) shoe.
So, yeah. Slice of life stories don’t have to be 100% realistic! They have to be relatable.
Do you want more tips about creative writing? Click here!
Do you want a list of slice of life movies/TV shows and books to enjoy? Click here!
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