But How Interesting Is Your Pain, Really? Dept.

There's a lot of damage in life for which the best prescription is "get over it", but I suspect a great many people don't want to hear that. (This was me once upon a time.)

Said folk know, on some level, getting over it is precisely what they need to do — but why would they vent and fume to others for so long, unless they were holding out for an exception to the rule? What they need is to get over it, but what they want is for someone to come to them and say, "Yes, you're right, this is terrible. Let me wave a magic wand and set it so that you're in the right."

Such blessings are never conferred, course. Or, if they are, they come on terms that are wholly untenable. But since when has that kept the desperate from holding out hope?

Thoughts like this occupied me while writing Welcome to the Fold, because a good chunk of the story is driven by this kind of toxic wish-fulfillment.  And again, it's the sort of thing where I know the story is driven by such conceits, but I always worry about whether or not the audience is going to be sold on sticking around for the whole ride to watch me talk about it.

Purchase on AmazonI've been reading Joseph Frank's amazing biography of Dostoevsky, and something Frank brings up time and again is how Dostoevsky had — in the eyes of more than one witness — the ability to "feel thought". Ideas appeared to him as tactile things, incarnate in people and ways of life, not abstractions to be pushed around on a mental chessboard. It's been said that every great writer has some singular, entirely personalized form of genius that only they can exhibit, and that was his. It's been something for me to examine, although I would not go so far as to say I have any idea how to go about emulating it.

The trick with any story is not to simply tell the audience what it's all about, but to get them to experience it some subjective way. It's one thing to talk to someone about loss, and another thing entirely to deliver into their arms the body of their dead child.* Extreme example, maybe, but you get the idea. 

* Please don't attempt this.

Tags: creativity  creators  drama  writing 

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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the category Uncategorized / General, published on 2015/01/20 10:00.

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