What’s Fiction’s Purpose?

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By Cynthia Herron

What’s the real purpose of fiction?

Several months ago, I tweeted: Fiction is just that. Fiction. Reading it is (and should be) fun. It is a break from reality. An escape. It doesn’t have to make sense, a point, or a literary statement. It can, but it doesn’t have to. When we distort that, we miss the art of storytelling.

We miss the point of reading.

I pondered this again one evening as I circled our quiet, country lane. I thought about the reasons I enjoy writing what I do. While, as authors, we can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend like real life doesn’t exist, we can create a happier journey along the way for those navigating wearisome paths.

Creating HEAs are my jam. I want readers to feel safe and loved in my fictional worlds.

While authors’ preferred genres (and target audience) may differ from their fellow wordsmiths’ objectives, most writers share this common goal.

We want our words and worlds to transform our readers.

Readers, in turn, look for that intrinsic “something” that connects the dots for them. Just like authentic, well-tended relationships, great fiction communicates love by way of art. Fiction touches those deep places—the ones we hold in reserve for good and hopeful things—and, for a brief time, suspends reality. It inspires perspective. It challenges, changes, and rewards us.

It hits that invisible bull’s-eye on our hearts.

It makes us feel something. And of course, fiction is all about what if.

Now, I may not like every story I read. I hope I do. When I crack open that long-awaited book I’ve salivated over for weeks, it’s disappointing when a story falls short and my expectations aren’t met.

That’s not really the point of this blog post.

People read for a variety of reasons, but fiction’s real purpose is all about the experience.

Readers want to experience life through story. We want to immerse ourselves in something beyond our here-and-now.

In the present, we’re locked into a fixed mindset. Fiction broadens that.

It nudges us beyond reality’s truth and invites us on a parallel journey, albeit a fictional one.

There’s something phenomenal about that. Something that coaxes goosebumps and transcends us to a higher plane.

Regardless the genre, stories—powerful stories—will always garner my deepest respect. Why?

Because same is boring.

And fiction—great fiction—may be a lot of things—but it certainly isn’t boring.

It may cause us to laugh, cry, rail, or rise to the occasion, but fabulous stories gift us with a glimpse of Heaven.

How has fiction transformed your life?

What great stories have challenged or changed your perspective?

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People read for a variety of reasons, but fiction’s real purpose is all about this. It may surprise you! @C_herronauthor #ACFWBlogs #writetip #ACFWCommunity
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While authors’ preferred genres (and target audience) may differ from their fellow wordsmiths’ objectives, most writers share this common goal. @C_herronauthor #ACFWBlogs #writetip #ACFWCommunity #fiction
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Cynthia Herron writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. A hopeless romantic at heart, she enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. Her Faith Restored, book # 3 in her award-winning Welcome to Ruby series, releases 1-5-22 and is available for pre-order November 1st. “Cindy” loves to connect with friends at her online home. She also hangs out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Her work is represented by WordServe Literary.

 

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