"Good realistic fiction offers truth through imagination."-Nina Sankovitch
Nina Sankovitch, creator of the fascinating (and inspiring) website has written an interesting essay over on The Huffington Post about the power of fiction to inspire, educate and illuminate life.
The best books are the ones that do not follow a formula or try too hard to be a certain genre. When I read a book I know when I am being manipulated (messed with) and when I am being told a truth. The best stories present a truth about life in any way that the author finds best, even if it is in lies. An author has to be fearless in just not worrying about the verisimilitude of the story, or is it too romantic, too gross, too quiet or too loud. If the author feels the scene is a genuine, guts-out presentation of the ideas she wants to get across, she has to go with it, go for it, and give it to us. She cannot worry if her story will sell or tank completely (that's the agent's job). She has to write without fear of refusal.