I just wanted to pop up briefly to point to a great insight into fiction-writing by fiction guru Randy Ingermanson. I’ve been reading his blog and newsletter for a number of years, and his methods have greatly helped my own fiction writing (now on hold, as I am focusing on a non-fiction project).
In his 13 Nov 2022 article, “Where Is Your Novel Going?,” I was struck by this brilliant paragraph:
“Stories are about our longing for justice in an apparently unjust universe. Let’s be clear that we have no idea if the universe is actually just or not. It doesn’t look just. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and sometimes good things happen to bad people. But nobody wants that, except bad people. Decent people wish the universe were just, and they desperately hope it will turn out to be just in the end.”
I have to state a caveat, which is that I personally think it is possible to know the truth about justice in the universe. That said, Randy produces a fantastic high-level kind of premise for thinking about the appeal and value of fiction. I’ve studied and attempted detective fiction, and I decided a long time that the primary theme of crime fiction is justice. But Randy (correctly, I think) extends that theme to all fiction.
If by any chance you’re trying to or thinking about writing fiction, you can’t go wrong by reading Randy Ingermanson’s blog (you can follow it via email).
ARB – 14 Nov 2022