Monday, September 20, 2010

a relationship with falsehood

In teaching fiction writing, one central question is whether students are comfortable creating stories. Obviously everyone in such courses should have a desire to fabricate narrative, but some find this to be the central challenge while others are more worried about fine tuning stories that have been relativel easy to write. The question may be one of truth and falsehood. Anyone with a familiarity with lying should be a fantastic produer of rough drafts, because all they need to do in order to write is to connect to that spontaneous machine that builds walls around truths they wish to protect.

Those with more truthful personal lives should merely think of alternate versions of what exists in their minds. We all have idealized or imagined versions of our surroundings, I would think. What then must we do to bring these spaces into the realm of fiction writing? The first answer is simply to challenge the notion of what a story should be, fitting it to the concerns that naturally float through one's consciousness. The second is to grow comfortable with committing in the moment to what is already on the page, while being ready in revision to comb out the central elements and build structures to support them.

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