Friday, July 20, 2012

Why Fiction Matters

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was knock on my son’s door. I knew he would have a hard time getting up for work. Last night he and a friend had gone to the midnight show of Batman.

I went downstairs. My husband had the TV on. And I saw what had happened at another theater halfway across the country. What had happened to other kids who just wanted to enjoy a movie.
Like everyone else in this county, I’ve been thinking about this tragedy all day. How unexpected it was. How incredibly, terribly sad and senseless. But, I still had to work. And work, for me, meant revising my novel.

As I sat at my keyboard, I thought about my characters, their problems and their emotions. While my plot lines don’t involve tragedies like those in Aurora, Colorado, my main goal as a writer is to connect with emotional truths. I think fiction is important like that. As a writer, it’s my job to create characters that allow my readers to feel emotions in deep and meaningful ways.

Writers like Jodi Picoult and Richard Russo have dealt with difficult subjects like school shootings. Patrick Ness left me in a big puddle when I finished A Monster Calls. These are works of fiction, but the emotional truths within the writer’s words lead us as readers to deeper human connections.

That is one reason why this writing job is hard. And why it is so important.


  1. Working through emotions is important in writing and can be a real blessing when reading.

  2. Yes, fiction helps develop empathy in so many ways.

    Thanks for commenting, Ann and Julie.