The Reason for Fiction

As is often said, truth is stranger than fiction. Too many corroborated stories of true happenings substantiate this idiom as fact. So why write fiction? There are several reasons to do so.

One, many need a buffer between themselves and the terrifying truth of a multidimensional reality normally not encountered or, if experienced, brushed aside as an anomaly brought on by fatigue, distraction, and even mental illness. The fiction writer steps in as a friend to these readers to write in language which emanates from the realm of the imagination.

A second reason to write fiction? Metaphor, or symbolism, encapsulates ideas and events in succinct ways. For example, if a writer knows about an actual haunted house, there may be many pieces to the story difficult to decipher or even understand –perhaps many decades or even centuries of facts, personalities, and events which would, if told about, confuse the story so that it became a muddled mess of seemingly disassociated parts. The fiction writer steps into such materials and either distills the actual happenings into a story which can be understood or takes only the idea of a haunted house and then steps forward with metaphor, folklore, myth, speculation, and other literary devices to create a fictional account of a haunting that has never actually taken place.

Imagination, it should be noted, is believed by not a few to be the source of all reality anyway; an idea which may help to dissolve any perceived differences between fiction and nonfiction. Certain studies show that words, sound, perception, and even intent change the physical makeup of both animate and inanimate objects. Imagination, therefore, could have more of a profound effect on day-to-day reality than any of us are normally aware of.