Fiction is just a lie. A made up world, with characters and timelines that aren’t real, true or factual. So why is it that some of us are so drawn to it? Why does it even exist when it sounds almost useless?
For someone who only discovered the magical world of reading at age 14, I previously could not understand why fiction was popular. I staunchly believed that non-fiction could offer much more value to the reader than fiction ever could. I’ve come to learn that fiction is the backbone to surviving a world too rigid and devoid of creativity.
What’s life if you cannot imagine a purple elephant in a bikini, standing on its hind legs and singing Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive? As arbitrary as that image sounds, or some would argue downright weird, there is a part of our brain that needs to switch off rationale and practicality and simply imagine. Let go of reality for a moment; take the backseat if you may. New meanings are born from looking at things differently, from thinking about things in unpopular ways and with that comes a new zest for life.
Whether a piece of literature is character-driven or action-driven, the creativity involved leaves you with much to ponder about – just like reality and real situations. Reading and writing fiction is like a playground for the imagination.
Sometimes the intense emotions we experience – be it anger, depression, excitement, gratitude – can best be expressed through poetry or storytelling. But fiction doesn’t necessarily reflect the writers actual sentiment about a certain topic. Sometimes invoking an emotional response to perfect a scene is the best way to get your fiction sounding flawless. This also helps the writer understand the emotions attached to being in a specific situation they haven’t yet experienced in reality.
Emotions open up a side to us that give our character a new dimension and expressing it by writing fictional pieces is just one creative medium to deal with and harvest positive outcomes. It’s already proven that writing down how you really feel helps you deal with your emotions, so wouldn’t writing fiction be as therapeutic as reading it?
As much as reality can help keep us in check, so can fiction. Reading about how situations could be (for the better or worse) can get us to assess our own lives. We can learn to either prioritise or to let go of things and appreciate what we have and don’t have.
Of course, much room is left for wishful thinking, but where’s the harm in that?
Do you think fiction is important? Why?