Benefits of Fiction

I have written before on fiction and why I write it.  You can read about my thoughts on why I write fantasy specifically here.   I also think it is important to note the benefits of fiction, especially speculative fiction.

Some may say that fairy-tales, fantasy, and other fiction is a waste of time.  These people assert that reading what is real is the only thing worth reading at all.  I disagree.  Fantasy explores difficult areas of life from the comfort of a fictional setting.  More importantly I feel that fantasy opens a door in the mind to realize there are things beyond our current understanding.

We only know so much about the world, and are only capable of studying it so far.  Science is a wonderful and useful method, but there are limits to the scientific method.  The beauty of fantasy is that it can fill in those areas with imagination and tell a deep and fulfilling tale.  Fantasy has the chance to delve into the areas we don’t understand and search metaphorically for questions such as what is the meaning of life, what is reality, and is there ever a time for war?

I feel that fantasy can be just as important and compelling as nonfiction.  I do not deny the importance of reality, but many times perception and worldview puts a spin on it.  So even if something is “nonfiction” it can still have untrue or warped information. Fiction isn’t true, it doesn’t even pretend to be true, and that is the beauty of it.  Fantasy delivers truth in the package of make-believe and doesn’t need to be bothered as much by worldview and tainted glasses.

Writing: The Ugly and Cringe-Worthy

Writers evolve, just like anyone in a profession. I strive to get a little better every day and apply what I learned from my failings. As much as I love to write, I am very well aware of my shortcomings. I struggle with grammar, and I often write in passive voice. I have to consciously will myself not to write passively, and those darn commas throw me off way too often.
However, I would like to think I have really learned something over the years and I’m not just pretending. With looking through my old Goandria manuscripts (then called Golah) and my poetry, it is painful and awkward. It is so embarrassing for me to read the stuff that it is even difficult for me to read when I am alone.

Writing is a beautiful thing. It enables people to express themselves in a limitless way, but some ways are obviously better than others (such as showing and not telling). Yet for someone who takes pride in his or her writings, looking back on the past and even some current products can be painful. There was a collection of poems I wrote in 9th grade, and even just looking at the cover causes me to internally grimace. Sure, there were a few that had potential, but there were others that are so bad they make my skin crawl. Still, I keep them. Why because it reminds me of where I once was and inspires me to do better. Seeing where I came from is a powerful way for me to learn, to better understand my weak points and to move forward from there. Writing, like anything worthwhile is challenging and filled with failure, but it is that failure that creates opportunity to grow and I am still very much growing.