Fiction, unlike life, has to make sense
Every book (of fiction) I have ever read (apart from one) was based on erroneous assumption, wrong notion, false premise.
It is purposeful, obviously. Authors do it consciously, and some readers omit it knowingly.
There are three reasons for such construction of books, stories.
one. Otherwise there will be no action, no drama, no plot. What sort of a book would it be if there was a complex problem and simple solution presented on next page? Authors have to have a reason to present their case, to run arguments against each other, to prove points.
two. This is how most of us think, it’s natural for most of us to act based on biases, wrong notions and making assumption which by definition are incorrect or untrue. We don’t think “solutions”, we think “problems”! Also, we are emotional creatures and we like to have this excuse as a defence strategy.
three. Fiction (books) have to make sense, unlike life.
He cheated on her. She is hurt. She plots revenge. He dies. She does (or doesn’t) go to prison.
(you can use he/she alternatingly)
He cheated. She is hurt. She left him. They both lived happily ever after.
Obviously Scenario 2 would never sell. Even though simple solution proposed here would be the right thing to do it would be very boring from entertainment point of view.
Simple solutions have one thing in common — they are not simple to implement. Very often they require guts, determination, strong will. We don’t have that. We have excuses, and one of the most popular of them being “I am just a human!” We also have set of socially accepted behavioural templates. We store them under “everybody does it!” label.
And then there is life…
Scenario 3 — He cheated. She’s hurt. She forgives. They stayed together. Never happy.
Scenario 4 — He cheated. She left. She was hurt for the rest of her life. He kept cheating on other women too. No one dies.
Scenario 5 — He cheated. She was hurt. They split up. They get back together.
You got the drift.
Books are great entertainment but they have very little to do with real life. How many real stories do you really know that went like Scenario 1? Yet most of the bestsellers are based on a tragic and dramatic plot.
What if books are our “what if’s”; dry runs, training exercise for “just in case”. Maybe, just maybe, because of books there is less of a drama in real life, less unfaithful husbands’ dies because hurt women read the books and they know that killing someone takes shit loads to do (and some courage) and going to prison is no walk in the park?
Someone said to me that “everything that is happening to us already happened once, somewhere, to somebody”. Did they mean in books? If we read a book does it mean that its plot becomes real, someone’s story, autobiography?
What if it’s all true? What if books have great entertainment and educational value but also have everything to do with real life? What if there is no “what if”? Stories read in books or heard in the winds enter our subconscious and mix with memories blurring the borders between facts and opinions.
Are we just witnesses, casual bystanders or are we the characters in someone else’s novel?