Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The need for selection means that every story contains, and is surrounded by, blank spaces, some more significant than others. When we create a fictional world, our decisions include geography, or setting, but also where and when a narrative begins and ends, who it involves and who it doesn’t, which actions and conversations are deemed worthy of inclusion and which aren’t. In a surprising number of novels, the characters are effectively jobless; they have been granted psychic vacations from work by the author. Their occupations might be named, but they have no employers, no colleagues, no pressing work-related obligations; which is to say, they live in a world very different from that of most readers.

Turchi, Peter. Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer. San Antonio, Texas: Trinity University Press, 2004. 42-43.


3xEMonkey said...

You ever read a character who has obligations? One who has a job? Ever watch their day to day? It's mindlessly boring. This is not to say that fiction is obligated to be interesting. It just shouldn't be nonfiction. Everyday life is not what people want to experience. Even nonfiction has to stand out in some extraordinary way. It's only the fiction that magnifies the mundane to an absurd degree that has any value.

Laminated Fragments said...

I think this is an interesting comment/reflection because it is the "practice of everyday life" that I find so interesting. How do we represent the mundane, the casual, the (stereo)typical? Is it that the fiction that does this fails. It sort of reminds me of the movie The Hours where the writers book is critiqued for being too boring or too out there because he is trying to capture all of the non-sense of the everyday. Just thinking.