Blog 29. The Real, the Ideal, and Stories

Underlying every social tension there is a gap between the real situation and the ideals of the society. For example, American law espouses the ideals of equality, justice, fairness, and popular consensus. However, our politics and our business are based on competition, domination, manipulation, exclusion, and political spin. This gap between the real and the ideal generates both outrage and a malaise of helplessness. Continue reading

Blog 28. Socially Significant Fiction

Entertainment and significant fiction

Much commercial fiction is pure entertainment. That’s ok; we enjoy being entertained. ¬†However, fiction offers a marvelous opportunity to be more significant, to explore social issues, leaving the reader changed as well as entertained.¬† Fiction can show a social issue in the setting of the story in the background canvas across which the plot moves. Continue reading

Blog 27. The Must-Do in Fiction

How do you write fiction?

An artistic woman asked me that question. In part, she was asking about the mechanics of drafting a novel. In part, she was asking how you get past the stinging criticism when someone accomplished in the art reads your first draft. One answer is this: don’t show a first draft. Show an edited manuscript that’s as good as you can make it. Maybe the 21st draft. Continue reading