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Why do we tell stories? To entertain, to share knowledge, to paint a picture with words.
For me, personally, reading fictional stories is a way to escape. Whether the story is fantasy or just a different reality, it’s a way for me to see a world different from my own.
The stories I tell are another way of escaping. But they also have another purpose. It’s a way of presenting an idea about a real-life situation. Whether the situation is fiction or fact. It’s also a way for readers to relate to the idea instead of just presenting a fact sheet.
Story telling is not just fiction.
Sometimes I like to read biographies about people. Some don’t tell the story chronologically. By that, I mean they don’t always follow the person’s life from birth to current day (or their death) in order. People often don’t tell stories that follow a chronological order. They will recall events from random moments, prompted by something they may have heard or seen.
Let’s face it. If we were reading something that was only a fact sheet, we would lose interest. By writing a story around an event, it makes it more interesting. We can also relate a little better to it.
Sometimes creating stories around historical events is also a good way of learning about history. One of my favourite novel series is the trilogy North and South by John Jakes. The first novel begins 20 years before the American Civil War. The second is set during the Civil War, and the third follows the experiences of Americans during the Restoration period.
Living in New Zealand, I knew little about this period of American history.
We can read volumes and volumes of non-fiction about a time in history. But we might not relate to it unless we saw it through the eyes of someone experiencing it. North and South may be fiction, but it still contains factual information and events which really happened during that period.
These novels paint a picture of that time with words and give us a unique look at what life was like back then.

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