Fiction is a lens through which we see the truth behind reality. It touches our core values and defines who we are. It takes a life of random events and gives it meaning.
We spend huge chunks of our lives immersed in novels, films, TV shows, and other forms of fiction. Some see this as a positive thing, arguing that made-up stories cultivate our mental and moral development. But others have argued that fiction is mentally and ethically corrosive. The more deeply we are cast under a story’s spell, the more potent its influence. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us easier to shape.
Fiction enhances our ability to understand other people, promotes a deep morality that cuts across religious and political creeds. Fiction’s happy endings seem to warp our sense of reality. They make us believe that the world is more just than it actually is. But believing that has important effects for society and may even help explain why humans tell stories in the first place. Generally speaking, goodness is endorsed and rewarded and badness is condemned and punished. Stories — from modern films to ancient fairy tales — steep us all in the same powerful norms and values.
Here is an article I found online that pretty much tackles everything I wanted to convey:
Fiction reveals truth. There’s something about a good story that reveals truth in ways that non-fiction cannot. Why do you think Jesus chose to tell so many stories? A good story makes us experience truth. Although non-fiction is great for conveying information, fiction can make that same information sink into our bones in powerful ways.
Fiction strengthens the imagination. Ours is a pragmatic culture. As a result, we often fail to appreciate the importance of the imagination. At best, it’s a diversion. At worst, it distracts from real concerns and takes time away from what truly matters. But imagination is the skill of seeing the world as it could be. And, when we’re facing a world ravaged by sin, what could be more important that the ability to see what could be?
Fiction manifests beauty. Like any art form, good fiction has a unique ability to display beauty. The right combination of words, a powerful metaphor, a well-described scene, each of these uses the written word to display beauty in ways that no other art form can. And, although non-fiction has the same ability to manifest beauty through the written word, there’s something in the beauty of narrative that’s impossible to capture in any other medium. Soaking up a good story can be like watching a beautiful sunset – a reminder that there is still beauty in this broken world.
Fiction expands horizons. We are storied beings; our stories define us. If you want to understand another person fully, you need to know his or her story. That’s one reason that biographies sell so well. They are a window into different world, a world other than my own. Fiction does the same. A good story draws us in, unveiling reality from a new perspective. For a short time, I can “become” a rockstar, a 19th century slave, or something else dramatically removed from my own experience. Fiction expands my window on reality, letting me see reality through another’s eyes. And by drawing me in and making me part of the story, it reveals these new perspectives in ways that non-fiction typically doesn’t.
Fiction makes better writers. One pragmatic issue to consider is that reading fiction makes you a better writer. Fiction authors use language differently than non-fiction writers. And any good writer needs exposure to a variety of writing techniques. Indeed, I’d suggest that any writer should seek exposure to a wide range of literary genres – poetry, fiction, history, philosophy, religion, etc. Each reveals a new way of writing that can expand the tools available to the aspiring author. And, in this way, good fiction shapes good writers.
Fiction is one of the most reveled forms of writing in literature. It is here that readers and writers find themselves enthralled into a world of creativity where dreams and fantasies become reality and in which the only limit is wherever your mind can take you. Through Felicia Spahr’s project, we are given access to her thoughts and observations of life and the drama behind everyday situations through the eyes of fictional characters. It’s a series of stories that, once read, will leave you with a sense of reflection and inspiration.