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There are some strange
folks out there who dont like fiction. Or rather,
they dont understand its purpose.
Robert Mitchum--otherwise an actor I greatly admire--said
he never read fiction because it wasnt true, so
there was no point.
To any budding novelist this attitude is as heinous as it
is incomprehensible. Unfortunately it is also
My father for one thinks that novels are too hard to
follow so he never bothers with them.
If its any good, theyll make a movie
out of it, is one of his favorite lines.
How many times have you heard this?
The implication here is obvious. To non-readers,
its not the writing thats important.
Its the story.
Whilst great writing might profoundly impress you or I,
most people just want the message, rather than the
People like stories for 4 main reasons:
4. To gain hope & salvation
These reasons have been the point of telling
and listening to stories since the beginning of time.
As a species, we need them.
They divert our attention from the mundane and take us
out of ourselves for a while. They can show us things we
didnt know about ourselves and others. We may gain
valuable new perspectives to help us to better understand
our neighbors, foreigners, even our enemies.
We need stories to make us feel better about
ourselves--as human beings, as well as personalities.
Thats why we like to identify with heroes and
warriors--indeed, anyone who can show us how to overcome
Finally we need stories to help us make sense of life and
the world around us.
In real life, there are no beginnings and endings, just
infinite sequences. You know how it is. You listen to the
news. Everything is a segment, a teaser, a sample of
every day life. Nothing makes sense because theres
Without the confines that fiction offers us, we are
drowning in a bewildering sea of actions and feelings and
urges with no meaning.
Stories frame real life into manageable
chunks that have tangibility, involvement and purpose,
whether for us individually or as a race.
Surely thats what we were placed on this earth to
do! To make sense of who we are and why we are here.
THAT'S why fiction matters!
Copyright Rob Parnell. All rights reserved.
Rob Parnell is the writer
and founder of the enormously popular 'Easy Way to
Write' Web resource and author of the classic
Internet bestseller: The Easy Way to Write a Novel. Go
here to sign up for free writing lessons, newsletter, or
to join the free EWTW forums. http://easywaytowrite.com
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