The Appeal of Fiction

Sometimes I forget that not everyone identifies as a nerd, geek, etc. It’s somewhat hard for me to believe that not everyone my age spends their days blogging, writing, and crying about fictional characters–how could there be any other way of life? But it would appear that some people actually find other ways to spend their time. I wonder what it’s like to inhabit a brain that’s not constantly experiencing Reichenbach Feels, planning cosplay, or untangling issues with writing.

But all this makes me stop and think–what is it about the wide world of fiction that appeals to me so much? Why do I find it so hard to slow down and live in my own life, in the present? Well, simply and broadly put, fiction is more interesting than real life, so why wouldn’t I want to constantly inhabit it?

The endless possibility that comes with fiction fascinates me. Even though I know that everything came out of someone else’s imagination, just as my stories come from mine, it doesn’t feel like it; it seems like these places and events are real somewhere. This does add up to a certain amount of wistful longing. If only I could live in Tortall and be a lady knight! Or better yet, have the TARDIS crash-land in my backyard. If I went to Camp Half-Blood, who would be my godly parent? Daydreaming about the possibilities set out by my favorite works of fiction is one habit I’ve never gotten rid of.

Perhaps even more enthralling than the fictional settings and events are the characters themselves. It’s funny how real they seem to us. We can imbue them with wonderful qualities or make them deliciously flawed. If you’re anything like me, these figments can make you very happy, quite sad, and often a sort of bittersweet mix of the two. When you create your own characters, they’ll start to run away from you and seem to develop minds of their own, which only adds to the feeling that somehow, somewhere, they’re real.

As for why anyone wouldn’t want to live in this world of fiction, I don’t know. Maybe they just have yet to discover it. Or–I shudder at the thought–they have such involved real lives that they don’t have time for it. That would be truly unfortunate.

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2 responses to “The Appeal of Fiction

  1. Indeed. Good post.
    Some people read to escape from their lives, and can become addicted to such. Personally, I read because… Well, I like stories. I’ve always liked stories (probably why I prefer lying to truth– not good…). Funny instances are that much more funny when you can make up a better introduction, rather than just telling it straight from real life. I like stories. And the fantasy world has held much more appeal for me than regular old fiction because– well, it’s regular. I could live regular fiction in real life if I wanted– you can’t exactly relive a dragon encounter.
    I read to experience things I couldn’t have otherwise. And I write to let others experience things that I’d have liked to read about.

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