Specifically, I’m tackling the ideas behind what creates good fiction. The tropes and narratives that pop in and out of society, again and again, spanning generations of thought and social transition.
What brings us back to storytelling? Why does it matter? How do you develop your identity through your work?
There’s a lot here, an inordinate amount of room for intellectual masturbation. I find clarity in common ground, finding a story that can prop up a headline. This is where it starts, being interested in what’s happening in front of you. Writing is an opportunity to handicap your ability to communicate. Cutting out physical lines of communication for the sake of words. Writing is downloading your mind onto a two-dimensional plane, pattern seeking.
Forming connection between you and the story, between the story and itself, and finally between your readers and the story.
What makes writing difficult, is the fact that you have to not only learn how to communicate legibly through a literary format, you have to learn how to direct the mind of your reader with clarity. The reader takes what is yours and completely changes it, makes it their own. In writing I find purpose in letting the reigns loose, turning my work over to the wolves. The practice of putting your babies on the chopping block hardens you up to the cold fact that,
YOUR WRITING ISN’T YOURS, it’s anyone who reads it.
We adopt things as our own. To let go of what you create you have to realize what it is, and why it’s here in the first place.
We judge people harshly on the things they create because creativity itself is sacred. The opportunity to separate ourselves from animals. The chance to look a little bit like God. It’s not that grandiose in practice. Writing is insular, not a happy place. Any creative work is a challenge against fear and insecurity, a calibration of who you are. Effective writing does not owe you an orgasm. Just because it’s good doesn’t mean it feels good, and vice versa. Effective writing provokes, challenges, violates. It’s not in your best interest as a reader to be comfortable therefore why are you trying to comfort your reader? The things you consume should point you back to the real world, giving you a new perspective on how to live in it.
The purpose of pretending is not to escape; it’s to get an outside opinion. This is a big misconception in fiction, the concept that fiction is there to distract you from reality when in all actuality, the novel that cements its place in history does so through directing the reader's attention to the existence of pain, suffering, humor, loneliness, despair, anger. All of these ideas are real, all of these are what make up the human experience. Good fiction makes you feel naked because it knows.
The master class abbreviated is, WRITE. Are you going to be the admin for a fan page or are you going to write some shit down and force it down someone’s throat? There are so many people I meet who tell me they want to be writer’s, every time I ask them if they’ve written anything, ninety-nine times out of a hundred the answer is “Not yet.”
People are not interested in being writers; they’re interested in saying they’re writers. The most significant hurdle you face as anyone attempting to create is forcing yourself to do it. There’s a moment every honest person feels right before they ruin a perfectly good text document with their clever trash. That moment is agonizing, filled with thoughts of worthlessness and procrastination, anger and despair in all shades. Feeling this way means you respect the medium, pushing through those feelings and writing anyway means you respect yourself.
For me, fiction is about creating a dystopia that already exists, highlighting the most mundane aspects of life and looking for the undercurrent in them. Good fiction is a lie that is true. It forces you to relate to the best and worst qualities of your characters. For me, I find purpose in fairy tales, stories created to change people’s behavior. Teaching children to steer clear of the forest with warnings of witches and wolves; How do we recreate that? How do we reincarnate those stories today? What do we need to steer clear of?
These are the questions I’m trying to answer in my work. There’s an individual responsibility creatives have to tackle the meta-narrative of old books. You find purpose in translating ancient scrolls, reading the stuff that has stood the test of time. Writing something that makes people scared and violated by every normal thing around them, keeping them on their toes, developing their spines, these are my daily goals. Establishing those goals came by reading, figuring out what I got something from. These are the works that strengthen my muscle to find the abstract in the simple. After all, that’s all we should be looking for, to improve our ability to create through work, whether it’s consuming words or putting them out. Writing can sneak up and teach you something if you're doing it enough.