The Importance of Reading Fiction

A definition of fiction:

A made-up story told in prose with words alone. Words alone. That’s the unique challenge and wonder of written fiction. There’s no actor or storyteller using gesture and inflection. No painter or filmmaker showing settings or close-ups. Everything is done with those little symbols we call letters, which are melded into words, which multiply to form sentences and paragraphs (from: the Gotham Writer’s Workshop, Bloomsbury: New York 2003).

Many people from all kinds of walks of life regularly visit creative writing schools. Their individual motives might differ in detail, but what seems to underlie all is a drive to write stories; not report or document, but to transform thoughts and experiences into written narratives. Why is this, where does this aspiration come from? Continue reading