Thursday, 3 November 2016

You NEED fiction.

Get absorbed by a good book.
So here I am in the first week of NaNoWriMo and not doing too bad. (Check out my progress.)  As a professional author, my time is not only about the wordage. It's about the rest of the craft as well, from editing to publishing to marketing to developing a relationship with my readers.

As I'm reading through a marketing blog, I came across this quote from the (non-fiction) author:

"Nobody NEEDS fiction. It doesn’t solve any of life’s problems – other than an escape from boredom."

At this, my eyes bugged out, my jaw dropped and my inner child threw a toddler tantrum.

THAT IS SOOO NOT TRUE!! We need fiction very much.
Fiction serves a very necessary need in our society. It provides a very necessary mental health benefit. You ask many a dedicated fiction reader and they will tell you why they read. It certainly is not to relieve boredom. No way.

Reading fiction provides the following benefits:

  • Escape from reality. Reading a book is like taking a little mental vacation. We have work, we have school, we have housework, paying bills, driving in traffic, parenting and a whole slew of Adulty things that need doing and that demand our spoons. Losing oneself in fiction lets you refill the cutlery drawer--essentially, recharging one's mental batteries.
  • Outside-the-Box thinking. The reason we love fiction is because it is so different to our lives, and yet so similar to our lives. Here was have different characters in different situations, maybe even different worlds, yet they have problems just like us. Problems they need to solve. By looking at how they solve their problems, we might learn different methodologies or different approaches, solutions we could take back into reality with us and possibly apply in our own lives.
  • Stimulates our Creativity. When we read fiction, we need to imagine the characters, their world, their situation and more. This exercises our creativity. Creativity is a necessary life-skill for problem solving and personal growth.
  • Improves brain connectivity and function. Or so say the neuroscientists, especially if the book has a strong narrative line.  (Note to self: construct strong, intricate plots.)  Here's the study.
  • Develop a better understanding of Humanity. To be strong members of society, we need to have a strong understanding of our fellow human beings. Fiction helps with that, especially if you read a variety of genres. Thomas and Ernestine get this.
  • Teaches us the skills of Empathy, Curiosity and the Acceptance of Change. The plot of a book is all about change. It's inevitable. By reading fiction, we learn that Change is normal and to be expected. When you read, you're curious about what's going to happen. Curiosity is a good thing. It makes you pro-active. Change is going to happen to the characters. As we undertake this journey with them, we might recognise elements of them within ourselves. This empathy improves our inter-relational skills.
To that non-fiction author who thinks that reading fiction is merely a boredom reliever, fie on thee! Do thyself a favour and go read more books.

Here's a few to get thee started:

As Good As Gold | For Richer, For Poorer | Marry Me | A Lady of Many Charms (free!) | Her Endearing Young Charms | The White Feather

Question of the Day: Why do you read fiction?

Her Grace has just polished off a 40g bag of Jelly Belly.

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