Here are some things I like about writing fiction:
- That I get to live inside other lives, not only my own. This is a kind of dehydrated reincarnation: add words and stir;
- That it's a way of testing some themes I think I discern in the world. These include simple surprise: that a life can turn on a dime, that every human contains a multitude of possibilities, that the rubbing of one against another creates a friction of change, that, mainly, you just never know;
- That what we see is not necessarily there, what we hear is not necessarily true, and memory is edited and unstable and unreliable. But that this isn't terrible, but interesting, and often awfully funny, as well;
- That the unlikeliest people are entirely capable of extremes, and are also most naked and pared-down when they're standing at the edges.
Some readers (and reviewers) recognize and live all this sort of thing, some decidedly don't. The best personal thing about writing fiction is that unlike the rest of life, the work, whatever it is and for as long as it's being created, belongs only to the writer. After it goes into the world, readers bring their own lives to bear and become co-creators - which is when things can really get interesting.