I’m reading a book on “outlining” a novel, and the emotional beats you want to hit. In it he talks about why people read and how a typical plot is like the stress/pain response in our body.
Which brings us to why we read and why we write.
The stresses in my life this past summer were threatening to break me, but I had fiction. Fiction is not just an escape, it’s a coping mechanism. It raises your blood pressure and stresses you out and then gives you the reward of the climax and resolution, the sense of going through something terrible/exciting/dangerous and coming out the other side with everything being okay, being livable.
And considering the jokes about my generation having no coping mechanisms and throwing temper tantrums at thirty two because they never got told no when they were two and never learned how to take a loss like a grown up due to participation trophies are proving to be true, coping mechanisms are a worth while and desirable thing.
I have a friend, who is truly one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met, who honestly believes fiction serves no greater purpose than mere entertainment. To him, reading fiction is just as useless as watching TV. I did correct him and explain the engaging of the brain while reading that you do not get watching TV, but now I have a completely different answer for him for fiction in general, reading and watching.
Fiction gives you an escape, yes, but it is more than that. It is safe fear, safe excitement, and comes with something real life rarely does –
You get put in danger through the character, have kinky sex, solve a murder mystery, beat the bad guys, ect… and you feel all of that. And then you feel the relief of resolution and closure. Happy or sad ending, there is closure and the sense that the ending happened how it should. If it was sad, a favorite character died, the romance didn’t work out, you feel that emotion and that it will be okay.
That is the power of fiction. Teaching children that whatever emotion they are feeling, it will be okay. You learn to process emotions and deal with them through fiction.
And that’s what I need to keep in mind while editing Psychic Undercover. I’m not trying to change the world with this one or win an award. I’d love it if people read it and it made them think, made them more optimistic and open minded, but that’s not the point of Ariana’s SDF series.
SDF is a cupcake. Made with real ingredients from scratch so there’s lower sugar and no trans-fats, but it’s still light and fluffy and really sweet. To get a taste of Ariana, the silly, optimistic psychic, check out the shorts I have as prequels to Psychic Undercover: We Investigate Zebras and Psychic Seeks.
I’m trying to create a fun world with wacky characters that people like me will read when their stresses are threatening to crush them, when the world is dark and they are freaking out.
This book is for the working moms who find an hour to themselves in a bubble bath, the millennials who are underemployed and paying student loans, and the people going through breakups, house problems, and fights.
This one’s for those of us who need light and fluffy when the darkness closes in. It doesn’t make editing this book for Nanowrimo less difficult, but it does make it easier to deal with when I remember for whom I write and why.
So, what are you writing and why do you write? 🙂