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A Comparison Between Real and Virtual Experiences

Stories are dramatized, virtual adventures. Stories can’t deliver the same emotional impact as real-life experiences. Parachuting is much more engaging in real life than in stories. Therefore, writers make use of dramatic devices to counteract the weaker emotional impact of stories.

On the other hand, Prose can summon feelings, like love, which is rare in real life.

Let’s compare how the engagers work in real life and in stories.


Stories can be more curious than real-life experiences because they can take us to extreme situations and connect us to characters we can’t or don’t want to experience in real life. A plus for stories.


Tension is emotional pressure. Tension is stronger in real life than in stories. Writers counteract that by raising the stakes, for example, by putting the fate of mankind at stake, but still, story tension is cushioned. A plus for real-life experiences.

Inspiration and Motivation

The external world throws a lot of adversity at us. That’s neither inspiring nor motivating. People read stories to get inspired and motivated. A plus for story.

Sense of Wonder and Beauty

Nature is beautiful, but story worlds can be fantastic. A tie.

Emotional Thrill

Real-life experiences deliver greater emotional thrills than stories. Writers counteract that with drama. Still, a plus for real-life experiences.


How often can we go on an adventure in real life apart from partying, vacation, and romances? Stories are virtual dramatized adventures. A plus for story.


Stories deliver satisfaction mostly through poetic justice. In real life, we can experience satisfaction many times a day. A plus for real-life experiences.


In real life, feelings are hard to come by. We need to cultivate relationships to get some of that action. Or we need to experience a heroic act, which is rare in real life. Most stories cater to emotions, not feelings, but the most successful stories are stories for the heart, for example, The Titanic or I Kill Giants.


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