On Writing-Why Write Fiction At All?

In fiction, we create characters, places, and events, or rearrange real-life things to fit a pattern we want to create, to explore an idea we want to explore, or to tell a story we think needs to be told.

In life, certain people, places and events grab and hold our imagination. Some events change the course of history. Some people bring about change that affects the whole human race. Life is full of memorable, horrifying and inspiring people and events that teach us things and stories that need to be told.

It’s all already there. So what makes writing fiction a relevant thing to pursue?

John Gould says: •It’s an act of imagination where we learn/explore empathy with some person/world not our own. •It makes us question/see limitations. • Fiction gets at the universal by being completely *idiosyncratic [*def: way of thinking, feeling or behaving that is peculiar to an individual or a group].

Yasuko Thanh says: •It allows us to see the end result of choices without having to live those choices ourselves. •Neurological studies have proven we learn the same way through studying fiction as we do through experience – in other words (mine) it’s as though we actually were living it ourselves.

Daniel Griffin says: •First is pleasure. I don’t discount the entertainment value reading fiction provides.

Perhaps the most compelling reason I’ve seen for fiction is described by Paul Hogan, an artist involved with a program being used to rehabilitate young Sri Lankans who were forced to witness and to do unspeakable things in support of a cause they knew nothing of before they were captured and brutally turned into child soldiers. The program is centered on reawakening the child’s imagination through art and theater, so that they can reinvent themselves and their lives.

Writing fiction is an act of imagining. So is reading it. And imagination, says Hogan, CREATES HOPE. IMAGINATION CREATES BELIEF THAT THERE IS A FUTURE.

While imagination and learning to use it is a most valuable tool for those who need to reinvent themselves and their lives in order simply to survive, hope and belief in the future are things all of humanity need.