It's been common, especially recently, for people to justify fiction -- perhaps more than any other art or form -- by its resemblance to reality. Even its unreality has been justified by a relation to a "deeper truth." As in, we lie to tell the truth.
And yet the term "fiction" derives its meaning precisely from its difference from reality. Literally the only thing we know about fiction is it isn't true.
How, then, did "realism" come to dominate storytelling? And how long can such dominance possibly persist?
Is the obsession with truth a defense against feelings of shame over the "work" of fiction being so very unlike work? Or simple narcissism?
I have spoken several times about the fundamental silliness of using fiction or poetry as a means of discovering truth of any sort, because of their fundamental weaknesses as methods of producing knowledge.
If we don't produce knowledge when we write fiction, what do we produce?
Perhaps entertainment first and foremost. Most self-styled authors seem to consider entertainment secondary. But I consider it, as a reader and a writer, thoroughly primary. It is the one thing I know I can and should do. Which is not to argue that everything in a fiction should be subordinated to crass grabs at attention. Such things are rarely even really entertaining.
This is terribly abstract I suppose but it seems urgently important to me. Share your thoughts.