I just finished reading The Covenant of Water by Dr. Abraham Verghese and it was a powerful story. One line that stood out for me was when he wrote, “Fiction is the great lie that tells the truth about how the world lives.”

Fiction is so important in increasing our emotional intelligence as it allows us to live lives we haven’t lived and visit places we’ve never been. With that knowledge comes empathy and the understanding that we are all more alike than different.

As author Franz Kafka said, “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”

Fiction unlocks us. Opens us. Helps us see things with new eyes. And often the thing we are taking a fresh look at is the person in the mirror.

By knowing what makes a fictional character think, it may help us understand why we made the choices we did. Or why others have acted a certain way towards us.

When discussing his latest book on Oprah’s podcast, Verghese said that character is produced under pressure. What we do in those moments defines who we are.

Which stories have changed the way we see ourselves or the world around us? What book will we remember for the rest of our lives? And how will that story help us write the one that really matters. Our own.