Reading fiction versus writing fiction

Entertainment is search for stories

Afterthoughts: All or Nothing – Tottenham Hotspur

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I have been reading a historic amount (for me) of fiction of late, and have quickly realised how difficult it is to write fiction, having read great examples of it.

One element I admire is how expertly authors are seemingly able to zoom in and out of scenes. When I come to write a scene, I feel biased towards describing every single little thing, in chronological order no less. If I jump to a character’s memory, or some other scene, it feels wrong, like I am disrupting the flow of the reader. At the very least, I am disrupting the flow of my writing. Perhaps this is a symptom of the fact I don’t know what the hell I am writing about, or what I intend with a piece. Most of the short-form fiction I have written are mostly self-contained, mostly in the form of a response to a writing prompt. Naturally, this is not necessarily something I would have thought on in advanced. The quick answer is that time will help to resolve this issue, but at the stage I was at writing, I found it more than extremely difficult.

I have listened to enough podcasts from writers to glimpse into how much thinking goes into characters. For A Little Life, Hanya Yanigihara spent years imagining the character of Jude before coming to actually write it. In comparison, the characters I write of are nothing more than scraps I claw at in the process of writing my short-form fiction. The disparity, from my perspective, seems insurmountable. I feel similarly with the character of Elio from André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name. Both Jude and Elio are woven so intricately that I would not even know where to begin if I were tasked to develop a character of similar complexity. That does not yet include their connectivity with the rest of the cast of characters either nor how the story will play it.

Writing fiction is the ultimate juggling act. It is an art that I took for granted until I tried it myself.

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