This is the last of the UZ guest posts; regular posts will resume Friday night/Saturday morning.
Posted by Ravyn on November 1, 2012
Even as I am dishonest in fiction, so I am dishonest in most forms of composition; most readers will have noticed several narrative techniques that I’ve used in these posts. Not least of these techniques is the way I distance myself from other writers with the claim that they are normal but I am somehow abnormal. This is an exaggeration, of course – I write the same way anyone else does, about things that please or intrigue or upset me, and in the end I want other people to read what I write and see what I saw in my head. I am as “natural” a writer as anyone else, even as I struggle with my own shortcomings, and saying otherwise is, at best, artistic license.
I write here about dishonesty because it is a tool that we all use, it’s a fundamental part of fiction and the capacity for fiction is part of what makes us thinking beings. We can’t escape it and we can’t escape its use in writing. What we can do is try to understand this aspect of ourselves so that we can make better use of it. Despite what I may have said earlier, this does not make us all liars; we are all *people*, gifted with the ability to imagine things that never were, to envision the impossible and then struggle to attain it. This is normal, and learning better use of it is no stranger than exercising or practicing the violin.
So the reason why I distance myself from other writers in these posts may become obvious. I stand over here and say that you and I are far apart – but then, once you see what lies between us, you realize – I hope – that this great expanse belongs to you, that it literally is part of what you do, and this is the reason why I highlight its presence with an invented contrast. In the end, I know that you see through the lie. That’s the point.
Next time you write, think about where you are going – not the journey, not the tone, but the destination, that place out in the impossible where you want your reader to find themselves at the end. Then, think about what you have to do to get them there. It’s not enough to say, “then the story went a different way from how I expected”. You’re the one in charge. Good luck.