I’ve always liked fiction more than non-fiction. There are so many more possibilities in fiction. Nothing has to be real because no one expects it to be. The main character of a story could be a beggar turned king, a high schooler who can fly, or a centaur blacksmith that starts a rebellion after his family is senselessly slaughtered. When people read fiction, they only expect to read a good story. Sure, that story can have life lessons hidden in there for the reader to discover, some of which were unintentional by the author, but that isn’t the point. Every fiction writer has a main goal: to be a storyteller, to relate unrealistic things to an avid audience, to make the impossible possible, and to entrance a mind into thinking beyond the social norm.
It’s not that readers and writers of fiction don’t like reality, it’s more that they, or rather, we have the potential to imagine different perspectives of reality. We are the people that, while walking down a street, are creating a fantastical world around ourselves from what we see, whether it is that every human has a bonded animal and that animal determines their social status, or that squirrels rule the world and we are all their slaves. Our minds do not see the limits that many other people constrain their imagination by.
We all have our own reasons for stretching our imagination past what is expected, but once it is done I don’t think it’s possible to go back. When your imagination has been freed of all constraints and is allowed to drift as it wills, there is nothing that can stop it. Very often, when walking to class or when I’m eating, I often find myself creating a world around me. I’ll imagine myself pulling water out of the ground and twisting it around my fingers or that I’m fighting a bounty hunter to keep him away from a hapless child. I don’t mean to, it’s just the natural state that my mind reflects back to when I’m not concentrating on anything in particular.
For all of these reasons, I find non-fiction very hard to write. I have to take my imagination, which is always looking outward at everything around me, and turn it inward upon my memories. I have to find a memory that will catch other’s attention and then dredge up half forgotten details to make it lifelike. Very often, I can’t help but fake a little bit. I’ll put in my imagination into what is supposed to be a real story because I don’t find the memory… satisfactory. It isn’t vivid enough. So I’ll add puddles that may or may not have been there or I’ll make the sky overcast even though I don’t remember what kind of day it was.
For me, non-fiction just doesn’t have the potential of fiction. When I write non-fiction, it’s always forced and I’m often unhappy with the final product. I’m trying to evoke the same emotional response that I felt in other people, and that seems impossible to me. After all, they don’t have the same background as me, nor do they know what built up to that moment. I can’t help but admire people who can manage to write non-fiction because their mind works in a way that I can’t quite fathom. Instead I can only lightly grasp the edges of the concept.