What is to give light must endure burning. ~Viktor Frankl
When I read, I’m having a conversation with a writer, not a propagandist or someone bent on making a quick buck. I don’t have time to read commercial fiction, which usually means it’s exploitative and sold for profit and self-aggrandizement. I read fiction that preserves my own human dignity (what there is of it). Reading (and writing) such fiction is for me the only means for survival in a totalitarian globalist world with all of its destructive and dehumanizing effects, with its yawning gap between rich and poor and ever-growing corruption. I subscribe to the idea that the more oppressive this totalitarian world, the better the literature, with all of its conflict, pressure, and suffering. Literature aims to describe the water we’re living in as fish, to get outside that somehow to describe the reality that surrounds us, trying to understand from the outside who and what we are. In every story, on every page, the writer is telling the reader, This is about you.
Indeed. This is happening to all of us. The difficulty for me at this point in my story drafts is my tendency for hyperbole. That is, I take myself and everything I observe too seriously. I have made an index card to add to my stack of reminders on my writing desk. This one says:
Any narrative inflation of pain, any demonstration of it, is exploitative and a betrayal. ~ Charles Baxter
One remedy for this tendency is to use film editor Walter Murch‘s Blue Light Theory in every story. This theory suggests that using a blue light in a room as the overwhelming “source of all blueness” in a scene “is so harsh it makes you squint. It’s so much what it is you have to shield yourself from it.” But if you remove the blue light, other blue things become more “authentically blue.” The overall result is paradoxical: “by taking away something I now had even more of it.” (From Michael Ondaatje‘s The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Film Editing)
- Tips On How To Become A Better Writer Of Fiction (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)