It’s a no brainer. The stories in books can transport us into another life – a life that is more glamorous, thrilling, romantic and dangerous – more frightening, even than the real lives we all live. …And don’t we love it!
In books we can visit exciting places; follow our characters into danger without the slightest fear of putting ourselves at risk. We can be romanced or shocked, terrified or intrigued, outraged or amused. We can be anything we want to be in the pages of a book.
I discovered the magic of fiction at a very young age when my Granny, who cleaned our local public library, sometimes took me with her. These times were a special treat.
We would be in there, just Granny and me, long before any other staff came on duty. Having that huge library to ourselves, and being surrounded by all those books…all those stories. It was like wonderland.
As a writer myself now, I find it exciting that I can create stories from the thoughts in my head – stories that people are going to read. The imagery the reader conjures up from the characters and settings in my book may be different from the ones I saw when I created them.
Even when a writer describes a character – their appearance, style, clothes, beliefs, humour, intelligence or lack of it, down to their last pinkie nail – the reader will see them differently.
And that, my friends, is the joy of reading. It’s called imagination. Any writer worth their salt will understand its power. Authors who underestimate the intelligence and fertile minds of our readers do so at our peril.
As a compulsive reader of crime novels, I don’t want a plot where all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s crossed. I want to do a bit of the work myself. And the writer who allows me to do that is one whose books I’ll buy.
Here’s what readers in a recent survey had to say about fiction:
* “It takes you away. Focuses you on the characters problems, and away from your own petty problems.”
* “Its like time traveling, and flying into another dimension. It’s exciting, and nothing feels better than sitting by the fireplace in a cosy chair, or in your room, wrapped up in warm blanket, in the winter, in a storm, reading a well-worn, well-written book. I love fantasy. I love the mysteries. No book is complete without just a little romance. We love it so much because it is better than reality.”
* “Reading fiction can be a way to escape to a different world. If a book is good, you will get lost in it. Suddenly you will realize an hour has passed. It’s like reality hits you in the face and reminds you who you are and what you are doing.”
* “It helps me escape into a different world. Where I have no problems or deadlines or work to do, it’s only the characters in the books that have the problems.”
* “It helps make me more empathetic towards other people and their problems because I may have read a book where a character has a similar problem to them, so I can help them easier. Puts things in perspective as well.”
* “Books are just amazing. Except when they keep you up till 3am when you have school the next day because you have to read just one more chapter which eventually turns into twenty.”
* “It’s like looking into someone else’s life in a different world away from your own. When you’re reading, it’s like leaving all of your worries and troubles behind.”
* “Because it’s not real and it ‘transports’ you to another world. And everyone secretly believes a world like that could exist and something like that will happen to them.”
Over to you now. Why do you read fiction?
A word from Rena:
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