With all the worthwhile non-fiction available, do we really need fiction stories? Today we’re welcoming my friend Shalynn Mellerup to the blog! Read on to see her thoughts on the importance of fiction.
I’ve always considered myself to be an optimistic person. I want to be the kind of person who smiles in the rain and sees adversity as an adventure. But, the fact is, life is not a walk in the park. It’s a hard and narrow hike up a steep mountain path.
Good fiction serves three main functions in that journey. First, it serves as a map. All fiction, no matter the kind, reflects certain truths. It delves into human emotions, explores the consequences of actions, and expresses viewpoints other than our own. When we learn the lessons they present, we have the ability to avoid dangerous obstacles and make choices that take us on a smoother path.
That said, not all maps are accurate. That is what makes good fiction so important. When the “mapmakers” we choose share our values, they are more likely to present a clear picture of the challenges we may face.
Secondly, fiction is a journey that we do not have to take alone. When other people read and love the same book we do, it is a point of instant connection. Whether they’re a friend or a stranger, a well loved book has led to many, many conversations.
Those conversations lead to another fact: the conversations we have with people, those who have read the same books that we have, help us to understand them. Each person who reads a book lives it a little bit differently. The characters they relate to, the scenes they love most, or even the parts that bring tears to the eye are a little different for each person. Because of this, we can come to understand a little more about them with each shared literary experience.
The third purpose of fiction is this: sometimes we just need a break. To be able to pick up a favorite book knowing that the hero wins and the characters will leave with a happily-ever-after is a safe zone in a world that doesn’t always work that way. Fiction can give us a reason to smile.
In a way, it gives us more than one reason to smile. The guidance we can glean from it helps us to navigate difficult situations with less stress, the friends we share it with bring real life connections, and the peace of knowing a story ends well is truly joyful. So though fiction may sometimes seem like a frivolous thing, its benefits extend far beyond its value as entertainment.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Shalynn! You brought up some great points. Readers, check out Shalynn’s website and books, and post your positive comments below 🙂