Archive for the ‘the truth behind fiction’ Tag

“Just” Fiction   Leave a comment

A friend of mine used the phrase “just” fiction to describe something recently. The context isn’t really relevant, but I had some thoughts about the way fiction affects us in response, and I wanted to get them down here, not just let them disappear into the ether.

I find that it’s never “just” fiction. The best fiction shows us something about ourselves. Sometimes something we already knew. Sometimes something we really didn’t want to know. So to me as a writer, it may be fiction. But it’s fiction containing emotions and reactions and personal interactions, and those things evoke real life. They’re meant to, no matter what I’ve based them on.

When people respond to what I’ve written with the ways they were personally touched by it, that can be uncomfortable. It’s like being trusted with the secret. Sometimes, it’s like having opened the window to let in the breeze and seeing someone outside naked–it’s more than I really wanted to know. But we should never write it off as “just” fiction. Because “just” fiction writes off some people’s personal and very emotional experiences in the process.

Just because it wasn’t real to the writer doesn’t mean it wasn’t real to the reader.