Fiction-the Original “Alternate Facts”

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017.

We have been off to an interesting start and without introducing any partisan politics at all I feel obliged to ask a question. In a world where we have incessant access to news (real and ‘alternate’), do authors still have a job?

Why should we as a society read fiction?

We all learnt the definition of fiction and non-fiction. Fiction is not real. Yes, I know that you spent hours researching the history, geographic location, scientific details, etc for your book but it’s just not real…or is it? Good fiction peals back the layers of our humanity and reveals the scars that we are afraid to expose in reality. One only has to look at the practice of banning books to understand the power of fiction in exposing dangerous ideology, dragging it into the light, and giving people a framework in which to express their own feelings about events in their societies. Studies have shown that when we read books covering topics that may be at odds with our own views, we read fiction with our guard down, open to new ideas; whereas we read non-fiction almost in a combative mode with our own beliefs in the forefront of our minds. As a result it is easier to influence someone’s views on a matter through fiction than non-fiction.

This influence applies to all genres of fiction. A romance may open your mind the the idea of love among people from different backgrounds, races, or nationalities. A good murder mystery looks at the worst of humanity in the bad guy but gives us hope in the best as the hero/heroine risks their life to save the world. We as authors have a bigger role today not a smaller one and we must not shirk. We have to keep telling the truth through our stories and remind people of who they are.

Originally posted on NovelSpaces.

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