The greatest and shittiest aspects of fiction are the same: it makes us feel.
This is not me going Mr. Spock and wanting to deny all emotion. I merely point out that fiction, done right, can make us feel real things for people or things that don’t exist and never existed. It’s a neat piece of magic, when you think about it. And powerful.
The good parts can let us share in the triumphs of imaginary people. Their wins become our wins. And we want them so badly to win.
The bad parts make us feel all the downfalls of those same characters. Their losses, their moments of stupidity or cowardice, their mistakes.
That’s the goal of most fiction, I think: to create empathy. Maybe because we enjoy a character, or maybe because their experience is a little too close to our own. Or maybe just because it pushes the right buttons. Either way, we feel for those people that never existed.
Get out your notebooks and pencils, you little word-goblins, because you’ve got homework. This week’s Monday Challenge: write something that makes you feel for a character. It can make you feel good or bad, lift you up or crush you underneath an unrelenting fictional boot. Just find something that makes you feel something real.
Because if you can’t do it to yourself, you’ll never be able to do it to your readers.
Out. *Drops the mike, leaves the stage*