Monday, January 20, 2014

Entertainment, Enlightenment, Enrichment

I've written both non-fiction and fiction. A recent conversation with a reader had me scratching my head. The person dismissed my novel saying, "I just can't get past the fact it's something someone made up."


Most authors have a theme in mind. Their stories illustrate principles such as forgiveness, mercy, the consequences of bad behavior, the blessings of wisdom, and many others. Fiction, whether meant for entertainment, enlightenment, and/or enrichment, will put forth the author's views about life.

We're in good company.

When the prophet came to David and told him a story about a man with a cherished lamb and how someone stole it, the king was enraged. The prophet used a fictional story to drive home his point that David had sinned with Bathsheba.

Jesus illustrated many of His sermons with parables. They were stories with a message.

Hmm, it seems to me that fiction is a vehicle to promote truth and ideas just as non-fiction. It's a different method but a valid one nonetheless.

Writers and Readers: What's your opinion on the subject? Agree or disagree and why?

Photo Credit:  ugaldew


Terri Tiffany said...

I agree with you. I have a theme in my book about knowing God's plans for our lives.

Karen Lange said...

I think there is always potential for a theme, whether fiction or non fiction. To me, it's important to offer the reader take away value. Good topic! :)

Jean Fischer said...

Hi, Susan. I think it's a matter of a reader's preference. I prefer nonfiction to fiction, although I read both and weigh both forms with equal merit.
Thanks for another thought-provoking post. Blessings! Jean

quietspirit said...

I was taught that all fiction started with a truth and the author built a story around that truth.

Aritha Vermeulen said...

I agree with Jean: It's a matter of a reader's prefence.

I love fiction.

JD said...

Hi, Susan:

Although I am generally a non-fiction reader, I have been reading more and more fiction. Aside from being entertaining, fiction can be a lyrical, engaging way to get the reader to see the truth at issue on a level non-fiction cannot reach.

I agree with Cecelia that fiction starts with a truth that is then built upon by the author.

The Life of Pi movie discusses a similar point about truth in fiction versus non-fiction, making the assertion that sometimes a truth is more easily grasped through fiction.

Great topic. I hope you were not too bothered by that reader's comment. Preferences are like colors of the rainbow--varied.

Be well.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri - Our lives illustrate a theme, so why not our books?

Hi Karen - Yes, the take-away is critical.

Hi Jean - I agree that readers have preferences, but it bugs me when someone writes off fiction as having no value.

Hi Quiet Spirit - Good word.

Hi Aritha - Thanks for commenting. I enjoy both, but prefer fiction.

Hi Janette Dolores - I like to look at various opinions. To those who have trouble with something that's made up: do you go to see movies, watch programs on TV, go to plays, ballets, operas? Most of them are fiction.

Have a great week, and stay safe with the bad weather.

God bless,
Susan :)

Unknown said...

Great post, Susan. At times I feel the same attitude can be used for my genre of middle grade / YA fantasy. Some adults are quick to dismiss a middle grade story as just a kid's book. Some of the most profound books are written for children. Look at stories like "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" or "The Giver" or "Holes".

Lourdes said...

I am in a strange place among all my friends I am the only one who reads Christian fiction, but I tell them what really gets me is the fact that although it may be fiction the Word of God is real. I have read many a book where I have come away truly blessed.