I recently wrote a scene between a main character and an alien, explaining why people would want to read something they know isn’t true aka stories. It was an interesting scene for me to write, putting down why I love reading something I know didn’t happened and is unlikely to happen. Quite often, the reason it hasn’t happened is part of the charm.
I know some people only read non-fiction or biographies, so obviously not everyone gets the allure of fiction. However, I know studies have shown people who read fiction are more empathetic, and happier. I think most fiction-readers would already know that from personal experience.
I think reading fiction allows the reader to explore all manner of circumstances and scenarios in a safe environment. Because we identify with the characters, we experience what they are going through almost as if we’re going through it ourselves (scientists call what happens in our brains to make this so mirror neurons). But over and above that, which I think is mostly sub-conscious anyway (I doubt many people sit down and think, oh, I think I’d like to find out what it’s like to experience a hostage situation, or what to do when on the run from gun-wielding madmen), I know I read for fun. It’s just plain fun.
There’s another side-benefit, and that is sharing stories connects you to others. It used to be, stories were told around a fireside and enjoyed and discussed by the audience. Now, the internet and blogs like this one, and other book-related blogs, have become our fireside. So . . . why do you love reading fiction, and . . . please pass the mashmallows 🙂