Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fiction: Responsibility of Fiction

Fiction, as Webster’s New World Dictionary states, is (1) “an imaginary statement, story, etc.” and (2) “any literary work with imaginative characters and events.” As official and intellectual as it may sound, this is bare, unexciting and dry. Perhaps a more livid definition is in good order for those of us who need some ants in their literary pants to get excited about writing.

“Writing fiction is the singular way to both lie and be socially acceptable and brash and receive accolades from the guilty.”

But wait, isn’t “brash” indicative of “truth”? And since fiction is, well, fictitious, that doesn’t make much sense now, does it? Wrong. Fiction is the tactful way in which a savvy author can seduce the world into thinking his or her own way or thinking just about anything, to hone the truth through deceiving scenarios of twists and turns that hauntingly resembles his or her own. Our pens are truly mightier than the sword. This is what we laugh about in the dark.

I’ll be honest here- *clears throat* Are you ready? Fiction writers are gods. Now, before developing a wall here, allow me to explain. There is a reason we have chosen this genre, a common denominator as to why we stare (candidly I hope) at people no matter what they are doing. Some of us daydream with seamless plots twisting in and out of our heads, driving us mad until we find a form of paper and some medium of writing tool to ebb it down with and…then we create, maim, destroy, beget love, friendships, birth, topple, teach, rape, reprieve and kill everything we place upon the canvas.

Sound like anyone you know? Depending on your views, it could be a few folks you know. Now does this mean we should be venerated? Mmm, no, but thus are the traits of those creation stories. Fiction, if you get my drift, isn’t simply a craft, it’s a responsibility to the characters and the audience that you have either made to hate or fall in love with.

Kill them if you don’t like them (or keep them for dramatic effect), have them linger if they are fighters, disgrace them if they deserve it…and remain humble to the real world of the mundane that provides muse to us all. The mundane is what drives us gods to make something spectacular, to birth what could be. That’s what people purchase a book for, that’s why they read when they are alone, because they are worshiping your words, perishing for that last moment when the world you created will finally come to an end as all things must. Why do people cry at the end sometimes? Because they know deep down within their souls how hard it must have been for that god to create such a lovely hero, only to have him/her die bravely in the end. Such is the communion of our parish; such is the curse and blessing of the gods of fiction.

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