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Why We Need Fiction (inspired by A Place To Call Home)

If you’re in Australia you have probably heard of or watched the TV show A PLACE TO CALL HOME. I watched the final episode Sunday night, ending the series at season two, much to the disappointment of many fans. It was obvious the final few minutes of the episode were rushed to try and tie up loose ends, but still many viewers were left with unanswered questions.

It got me thinking how important fiction and fictional characters are to people, how we connect with them even though we know they aren’t real. As an author I try to do this on a daily basis; write characters and storylines that people are going to hopefully connect with and care about what happens next. With books you know you will get to The End, a proper ending, and know how everything turns out, but in television it is less assured. Writers, actors, producers, and directors often don’t know if the season they’re working on will be their last, and must not only prepare for a future season but keep in mind some options for tying up storylines should the show be cancelled. There’s nothing more frustrating than being left hanging, no resolution, no idea what was supposed to happen next.

Many fans of the show have taken to signing petitions to try and bring it back, and there’s a facebook page to show support for the show. I even wondered if fan fiction or a spin-off book would be possible to continue the storylines that had been planned for season three, who knows!

This reaction is a great example of the power of fiction in people’s lives. We all like a good story. Is it just the entertainment factor or is there more to it?

I believe it is human nature to be curious, and fiction stimulates that curiosity. I also believe that connecting with fictional characters helps us recognise similarities in our own lives – behaviours, experiences, relationships, issues in society – our real life world can be reflected through fiction in a controlled way that helps us make sense of life. And historical stories like A Place to Call Home remind some people and educate others on what times were like back then.

Ironically, fiction is both a reflection of and an escape from real life.

Whatever the reasons for enjoying them, stories told through TV shows, movies, books, plays, etc, are an integral part of human nature, and though the mediums for telling stories may change and evolve over time (as with the rise of ebooks), I don’t think the desire to enjoy stories will ever change.

 

What do you love about fiction both on the screen and on the page, and why do you think it’s so important for people in their lives?

And if you’re a fan of A Place To Call Home, what do you think would have happened next had the show continued? 😉

 

~ Juliet

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