By Stu Leventhal
Making up stories to get our point across is fun but it can also be tricky. Fiction requires a vivid imagination but also terrific skills of communication. An author has to be careful not to overlook details when he is fabricating things or readers can become confused. Fiction often takes longer than nonfiction would to tell a similar scene because fiction authors must describe everything more fully from the beginning. When you, the author, are making it all up from scratch, readers understandably will become agitated if you forget to fill them in on an important aspect.
When a story is set in a world that the reader is not familiar with, readers have to be handed and spoon feed all kinds of pertinent information in order to be able to make sense and follow along with the tale. You cannot assume readers know anything you have not told them; how could they when the place you are telling them about never existed except in your head and dreams?
A nonfiction writer can set his story in New York City during prohibition and readers get an immediate picture of the scene and the times and the people. A fiction writer may have to create an entire new city for his story because he cannot just make up a name for the city without explaining what the place is like. Remember your make believe place must have a history too! A place’s history is often involved in developing motives and steering the actions of the people who now live there! History is often instrumental in developing the themes of a writing work.
Yes, making things up is fun but the difficulty is with keeping the action of the story moving along as you describe and discuss all the wonders and the unusual inhabitants of your made-up world.
Sure, fiction tales can also be set in real life places and written as if they happened during real historic times but the readers will still want to be reassured of the details because they know you their author are fabricating some things so they will need you to re-clarify and reassure them about just about everything.
Can you see how creating a whole world out of thin air and filling it with author manufactured people while exciting and entertaining for both the writer and readers can also be challenging and time consuming for both writer and readers? You need to set solid parameters for your story to take place in plus you have to start telling about the engaging episodes your characters get involved in too!
Fiction writing allows an author a lot of leeway to wander wherever he or she wishes to go. The purpose for creative writing is for an author to be able to say whatever is on his or her mind. Through fiction writing the author is no longer shackled or steered during the writing process by facts and figures and data and other people’s testimony. If the writer needs to say something he invents a character or a situation to say it!
Fiction allows writers true and fuller freedom of speech! Yes, an author can make up whatever is necessary to sell his point of view but be aware that readers are not easy pushovers. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. Just because your imagination can dream it up does not mean readers are going to buy into it! And so we learn an important lesson that although it may seem easy to introduce drama and excitement into a fictional story at any time one’s imagination must be reined in and controlled.
Fertile imaginations can only be exposed to others in small doses or they most likely overwhelm the observers! A vast and powerful imagination is most effective when its owner is master of it not the other way around!
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