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Fiction is Good for Seven Things

Fiction has been condemned, by some, as a waste of time, and an unreal grasp at reality. But with fiction, the world is a better place. Here’s why:

1. Fiction helps children learn to read. It motivates them to keep turning the pages. Someone is in trouble; they must read till they know how it ends.

There is a simple correlation between the number of prison cells needed in the future of America and the percentage of ten year-olds who cannot read.

2. Fiction builds empathy. A reader looks at the world through another’s eyes. They become someone else for a moment of history. They learn to get along with others.

3. Fiction shows a different world. It opens doors into a world of the reader’s choosing. Knowledge, skill, tools, and armor are given to solve problems.

The Chinese in 2007 opened their country to science fiction. Some asked the reason. The Chinese are a hardworking people. They can build anything, if they have a plan. But they cannot imagine. They sent delegates to the United States asking inventors about themselves. All of the inventors, from Apple, Microsoft, Google…read science fiction when children. Imagination is the gateway to inventions.

4. Fiction allows us to learn from elders. Rather than rediscovering what man knows, man builds upon knowledge from those before him.

Those countries whose history and books were destroyed or rewritten by the conquering country were thrown into a period of chaos, oppression, hopelessness. Learning started over. The tie of history gives a link to build. Re-learning the same things is unnecessary. Re-making the wheel doesn’t bring progress. Re-writing man’s past gives a false impression of who he is.

5. Fiction encourages discernment. The reader sees the protagonist’s plan. He wishes the character not to be caught surprised. He doesn’t want to be misled or deceived. He sees around the path’s corner so preparation is important, surprise is minimum. Truth prevails.

6. Fiction gives hope. Fiction provides solutions to problems that seem insurmountable. It shows how to process problems page by page until you have a knowledge base big enough to see through to the other side, correct the wrong, right the injustice, and give hope.

7. Fiction should show beauty. Authors have an obligation to leave the world better than when they started: problem solved, the mess cleaned up.

What else is fiction good for?



I'd love to hear your thoughts. Share in the comments below.

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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