What I Learned from Reading Fiction


  1. Everything will be okay in the end, no matter how awful it seems right now.
  2. Things will get worse before they get better. Much worse.
  3. Don’t try to be a favorite; you know the underdog is going to win.
  4. Mr. Right is right under your nose; you just don’t realize it.
  5. There is a fairy tale ending for you, but it will be hell getting there.
  6. When you finally reach a state of happiness, brace yourself for the sequel.
  7. Live the life of a protagonist. You’ll have a happy ending and the life will be very rewarding.
  8. You can make life easy by being a major antagonist; you just won’t have a happy ending.
  9. The safest bet is to live life like a narrator; you get to see all the action, and you must survive to tell about it.
  10. If you’re not tall, dark, and handsome, don’t live life like you’re in a romance novel.
  11. Imagination can be a million times more exciting than reality.
  12. Reality is a million times safer than fiction.
  13. Make life more exciting by imagining you’re in a novel.
  14. Don’t trust anyone. Ever.
  15. Anything can happen to anybody at anytime.
  16. The more incredible the odds, the more likely things will work out.
  17. Be very afraid of the dark. Don’t go out at night. Don’t do anything.
  18. Good always triumphs over evil, but evil never gives up.
  19. Stay away from fiction writers: They must be totally insane.
  20. How to write better.

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

17 comments on “What I Learned from Reading Fiction

  1. I agree with Katie about #19….but we are so much fun!
    I also agree with #20 whole heartily…the BEST (not the only) way to learn about writing is not in instructional manuals on writing process, but by reading great fiction.

  2. I’m writing a “#5. There is a fairy tale ending for you, but it will be hell getting there.”

    You get the briefest of warnings that the end is happy – sort of – in a tiny prologue. Which, if it lodges deep in your subconscious will keep saying ‘Wait a minute – this has a happy ending” through all the hell.

    I’m not betting the farm on it, BUT I really, really like having it there. I even warn you right up front (nobody sees the warning) that every word is fiction.

    We writers have the most fun.

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