The psychology of fiction with Jennifer Lynn Barnes | ReThinking with Adam Grant
Novelist Jennifer Lynn Barnes discusses the psychology of fiction and shares insights into its significance and influence.
She explores how her background in psychology has informed her writing process and how fiction allows readers to understand others’ perspectives deeply.
The discussion also delves into the power of imagination, the importance of perspective in originality, and the role of fiction in shaping collective identities.
Originality in Writing
Originality in fiction is less about novelty and more about perspective.
An author’s unique voice, ideas, and passion can infuse a familiar theme or story with freshness and intrigue.
Hence, similarities to other works can be beneficial if the author provides their own spin to the narrative.
When you read a book, you can actually get inside someone else’s head in a way that you never could in reality. The only way we can have that intimate access, where you truly know what it’s like to be in someone else’s mind, is through a story. – Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Writing as a Gift
Writing fiction can be likened to bestowing a thoughtful gift on the reader.
Authors aim to create an immersive and enjoyable experience, with characters developed from inspiration, tropes, and a deep understanding of their past.
Whatever idea you have, whether you think it’s original or not, see what kind of fun you can have with it and put yourself in the book in some way. And then it will be original ‘cause it’ll be you.h author name. – Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Fiction’s Role in Community Building
Fiction can foster a sense of community and belonging among readers.
Fandom groups, centered around shared narratives, can create strong real-world bonds and offer people a chance to live in these fictional worlds.
Fiction and Collective Identity
Fiction plays a crucial role in shaping collective identities and shared narratives within communities.
It can start as an idea in the mind and then become a reality, as seen in the formation of nations like America.
Creating characters in fiction often begins with a specific vibe or inspiration.
Detailed exploration into their backgrounds and experiences helps shape their personalities in the narrative, making them more relatable and real for readers.
The Appeal of Familiar Themes
Readers often gravitate towards familiar themes and elements in fiction, finding comfort and satisfaction in narratives that resonate with their preferences.
This suggests that originality in fiction is not always about presenting something entirely new, but about delivering more of what readers love.
Psychology in Writing Process
Understanding the psychology of fiction can significantly inform and enhance the writing process.
For instance, Jennifer Lynn Barnes leveraged her knowledge of psychology to create her successful series, The Inheritance Games.
Rewards in Fiction
Elements like puzzle-solving and surprise serve as rewards that keep readers engaged in fiction.
They contribute to the interactive nature of reading, where readers co-author the narrative by filling in the gaps with their imagination.