The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does compete with life. When it ceases to compete as the canvas of the painter competes, it will have arrived at a very strange pass. It is not expected of the picture that it will make itself humble in order to be forgiven; and the analogy between the art of the painter and the art of the novelist is, so far as I am able to see, complete. Their inspiration is the same, their process (allowing for the different quality of the vehicle) is the same, their success is the same. They may learn from each other, they may explain and sustain each other.
Henry James, “The Art of Fiction”. <public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/artfiction.html> Longman’s Magazine 4, September 1884
Fiction is a form of art like any other. As an art form, fiction is related to the reality we all experience in some manner and it shouldn’t have to make allowances for whatever departure from the “factual” world it makes.