07 August 2010

Fiction: A Way of Dealing with Truth

In following in the blogosphere the discussion on fiction, whether teen fiction, Christian fiction, or young adult fiction, I have discovered a minority opinion out there that equates fiction with fantasy or with lies. I thought I would offer some light on the subject.

Fiction is a sub-category of narrative. Narration goes deep into what makes us human. Some narration is historical, in the form of chronicles or biographies. The Bible makes wide use of the former (Exodus, Kings, Chronicles, and so on) and of the latter (the Gospels). Fiction usually takes the form of short story and novel. The best deals with believable characters we can relate to as readers, in varying degrees reflects the real world, and has something significant to say about it.

Works of fiction can range from an entire fictional world with its own mythology, legend, and history (The Lord of the Rings), through the real world containing a magical alternate (The Harry Potter series), through novelization of enduring legend (Mary Stewart's four books on the King Arthur legends), to historical fiction that paints a particular point in a nation's past (Les misérables). The best science fiction projects a current trend to a future in which our worst tendencies have damaged us (H.G. Wells' The Food of the Gods). Each of these has something important of universal human value to say.

As with all human artistic (and other) endeavors, there is work of high quality, there is trash, and everything in between. Some of it contributes positively to understanding ourselves better, some of it is destructive of ethics and culture, much nowdays is merely commercial (If it makes money, do it!).

Read widely. Don't condemn a book if you have not read it, at least far enough to know clearly what it's about (but it's rare to pick up any book you can't read through to the end and it's important to find out just where the author comes down on the main issue presented in it).

Please take a look at my latest realease, a piece of realistic fiction, at www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html


  1. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! :) Best of luck with Angela!

  2. I agree that almost all fiction 'has something important of universal human value to say'. Even when we tell ourselves (as writers) that we are writing a story for the sake of it, I believe we are actually 'working'things out for ourselves; to help ourselves and others understand the world around us a little better.


  3. Very well put. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Mary De Muth said it best in her book, Thin Places. Most first novels are autobiographical (sp?). I agree. Even as I work on my first novel I see bits and pieces of my past and present mingling together.