Stretching the Connections Between Real Life and Fiction



The Writer’s Chronicle, March/April 2013


This is and has been my go-to mag for writing advice, but sometimes, the academics who write for TWC go to extraordinary lengths to assay fiction. Such seems the case with David Jauss’ article in this issue with the lumbering title, “Homo Sapiens vs. Homo Fictus – Or Why A Lot Of Knowledge Can Be a Dangerous Thing Too.” Stating the obvious, he notes that we know less about fictional characters than we do real-life people, we with blood in our veins being ultra-complex creatures. Yes, of course, fiction is mostly an empty canvas, particularly these days, when ambiguity is a primary arrow in every writer’s quiver. But Jauss is right in writing that when we write about our characters we should concentrate on their essential qualities, not their superfluous, “accidental” ones.

Three writers who give their take on “Writing Political Fiction” – Rosellen Brown, tracy Daugherty, and Ellen Meeropol. Here, political implications spread like floodwaters about us: “The fiction writer’s challenge…is to be a witness to her time without getting trapped in her time.” Politics is a struggle of perspectives, this tripartite article seems to say, and the writer has the complex challenge of immersing oneself in time and situation without losing too much of the perspective hovering over it.

And the interview with Kim Barnes is compelling reading for those writers trying to emerge from such a a religio-political morass.



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