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A Little Fiction Goes a Long Way

Updated on July 14, 2015

Fiction

Fiction: literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels that describe imaginary events and people.

As a writer it should be of common knowledge that I read a lot. They say that the most important part of writing is reading. I even said that in a previous article and I whole heartedly stand by that. I don’t quite remember exactly where I read that you should mostly read the types of books that are similar to your type of writing so you can study what the successful writers are doing, however, I also believe that you shouldn’t limit yourself to reading only books within your desired genre. That is one of the reasons why I started a book club.

This book club has opened me up to reading more fiction books than I ever would have if I was not in the book club. Those who love to read can read anything easily but there is something captivating about reading fiction.That I just can't explain, but maybe science can.

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Did you know that reading fiction makes you more empathetic? According to an article on Psychology Today "Neuroscientists mapping the brain have discovered that reading fiction taps into the same brain networks as real life experience.When you are engaged in reading a fictional story your brain is literally living vicariously through the characters at a neurobiological level."

Is it possible to learn from fiction?

I think the best knowledge comes from fiction. Here are my reasons as to why:

  1. Writing fiction requires using the knowledge you already know and mixing it up with your imagination. The possibilities for a great story are endless and the more you know about things and people and places the more you can create new and exciting things for people to escape into.
  2. The exercise your brain gets by exploring all those possibilities is amazing! I mean, have you ever sat down and had a conversation with someone after you have written an article or a chapter of your book? Even if it has nothing to do with what you are writing it almost feels like your brain is more open and susceptible to the information it’s receiving. If that doesn’t get your juices going I don’t know what would.
  3. Writing fiction requires is all about fun and nothing is more fun than fun. When you enjoy writing it’s always fun but there is no better feeling than writing something that seems impossible to exist and allowing that thought to doubt it being impossible. As a writer I want to feel everything the reader is going to feel and although you can achieve this type of writing with any other genre, fiction gives you the freedom of not thinking too much. You don’t have to worry about something being right or wrong, real or fake, possible or impossible because everything you write can be on either side of the scale and still be absolutely amazing.

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How does fiction help us shape how we think?

Everything I just said about what writing fiction does for the writer it does for the reader. Reading a fiction book helps us tap into other people’s ideas even if we never get to meet the person (which will never happen because the characters are all made up) but that doesn’t mean that the character has nothing to show us.

When we write fiction, like I said before, we use some of the knowledge we already have and mix it with whatever comes to mind but the knowledge we have isn’t just our knowledge, it’s also the knowledge of all of those that have helped shape you into the person that you are.

Fiction allows us as readers to not take things too seriously, to see things from a different perspective, a more appealing perhaps even better way to handle a certain situation. The best characters are those people can relate to and what makes them great is the fact that the reader sees a better way of living thanks to that fictional character.

There are definitely real people to look up to as well and those motivate us in a different way, their teachings are a little more grounded and a little less fun, in certain occasions maybe even as fun as the routes that fictional characters take but it doesn’t give us the creative edge that fictional characters give us.

Let’s take the book I just finished reading as an example. The book is called The Game by Terry Schott and it’s available for free where ever e-books are sold. In this book people live in a place called Tygon and Earth exists only through The Game. Humans are avatars in The Game of Life and God is a mainframe computer. I can see many people getting offended by that but let’s think for a second how crazy it would be if none of us knew that life was a big game and that our years are really just days in ‘the real world’ and when we die we just wake up in our real bodies somewhere else.

This book has so many great ideas and it’s written so well that as soon as I finished it my mind was running in a million different directions. I honestly didn’t know what to start writing. Should I use this to continue my novel or should I write an article? I guess you can all see what I ended up writing.

The fact that this book is free is even more amazing. I felt like I was reading a self-help book at some point. Terry did such a great job at making sure that the reader was engaged, and his ideas are absolutely amazing and innovative. I’m surprised more people haven’t heard of this book.

Finding Your Genre

When I was younger right after I made the decision of becoming a writer I stuck to reading only Mystery/Thrillers because I had decided that’s what I wanted to write. I thank Harlan Coben for this. The first book I ever read from this author was ‘No Second Chance’. I remember picking the book up at Sam’s Club, reading the summary and being completely intrigued by the concept only because it felt like that could happen to anyone. Actual fear came over me and that was the beginning of my new found love: Mystery/Thriller.

I started writing a sci-fi novel in high schools without realizing it but I’m not a big fan of science fiction, I can watch sci-fi movies all day but I can’t read a sci-fi book to save my life. Then one day I read somewhere that when you write you don’t think about genre’s you just write whatever comes to mind. Let your writing define itself and so that’s what I did. Eventually that book never went anywhere, I could never finish it but it turns out that I could never finish the Mystery/Thriller novel I started working on but I’m awesome at writing poetry so I have stuck to doing that but have not given up on my novel. The more I read the more ideas I get and the easier it is for me to write.

So enjoy this process and let it be what it wants to be, you will never know when you’re creating a masterpiece until it’s done.

Happy Writing!

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