Fiction… the bread and butter of creatives everywhere across the world. Entertainment is generally stemmed from some kind of fiction. (Nonfiction writers, I applaud and admire you for your pluck. I could never confine myself to the facts! Y’all are the MVP).
However, at the end of the day, fiction is “just a story”, right? Your words that you’ve spent hours formulating into coherent sentences have absolutely no eternal consequence, correct?
Here are 3 reasons why.
- Fiction is highly subjective… or rather, the message is highly subjective.
Life, in its basic human form, is subjective. It’s swayed by circumstance, opinion, background, and anything else that humans allow to affect their minds. The same is with fiction, which is exactly why it’s beautiful! An author can create a work and have a specific message to convey to the readers, and that same message can be taken 30 different ways, because people receive messages differently. We all come to a new idea with preconceived ideas that we use to determine said idea’s potential effect on our lives. I say all of that to simply say this, write your heart. If your heart carries a story about a swashbuckling pirate who collects seashells because they remind him of the fragility of life and his own insignificance in the grand scheme of things, then go for it! Write that story with as much passion and fire that you have within you, because there’s a heavy chance that it will resonate with someone else besides you. That is the beauty in the diversity of humanity! (I claim full rights to the swashbuckling pirate story, okay? No plagiarism. New York Times hit me up already.)
2. Ideas change hearts.
Have you ever had the ah-ha moment when you read something that puts a vague emotion that you have been feeling into words? Suddenly, you are able to think much more clearly because you can FINALLY put your finger on this mysterious part of the human experience that has been eating at you. No? Just me? Well, the point still carries over, because as long as there are human beings walking this earth, there will be new ways to tell stories and express emotions. There will always be confusion that we, the writers, have an obligation to make clear! Without writing, we would not have the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, or any other way to broadly educate people whom we have not met. Textbooks would be nonexistent, the Internet would have no point, and we would be a people who have no idea how to express our thoughts in their entirety. (Introverts, ya feel me?) Books advance our means to communicate with one another in a way that is more intimate than simply word-of-mouth. I feel like fiction is even more intimate, given the fact that it depends heavily on imagination. Reading a fiction novel is an invite for the author to get inside your head and to play out a story, planting new ideas and theories at will. Sometimes we have no idea that we have even had a change of thought until it plays out in real life. Books challenge us, and stories move is in ways that movies cannot. Which brings me to my next point.
3. MOVIES ARE NOT AS FULFILLING AS BOOKS. (Warning: this point is founded on opinion and very little fact.)
HEAR ME OUT. Okay, so you sit down and watch a movie, right? Everything is given to you. The story, the scene, the characters, the expressions, and mannerisms. It takes less than 2% of your brain’s capacity to actually focus on the storyline. You have very little emotional investment into the characters because you don’t have to work to imagine them. That may be exactly why some people like movies better than books, and I’m not saying that making a movie script/scene is easy. As a matter of fact, it’s likely just as hard as writing a novel and even MORE competitive. However, on the receiving end, the experience provided by a good book is vastly different than that provided by a good movie. Granted, a movie takes less time (and less emotional investment) and it is also more visually driven. A book can let you into the character’s head, and that is what I love about storytelling. You have the opportunity to display humanity as it truly is, to portray the thoughts and feelings of a person in a way that can only be appreciated by a reader. A movie will show you that a person is angry and kicks his wife’s favorite cat across the room. A book will tell you, in the same scene, that the person’s blood boiled with anger, and the remorse he felt as Mittens went flying across the room and smacked into the wall with a muted thud. Both will display how his wife buried his body in the back yard, but a book will describe how her fury was satisfied with every shovelful of dirt that hit the black tarp covering his body as Mittens watched from the kitchen window with a maniacal sneer.
I rest my case.
I conclusion, I am a firm believer in the perpetuity of fiction, and even in Inspirational Fiction. The market is struggling right now, but I believe that it will rise again in due time. Times are changing, and the market is going to have to change with it, whether it likes it or not. But I digress.
Moral of this post: Read good books. Read them over and over again. Write good books. Write them again and again until your story is told in its entirety. Don’t give up, because the story in your heart matters.