“To gain mastery over reality is to create a mythology worth living for. Your head is the space from which all meaning derives. It is the shaman’s – and writer’s/artist’s/musician’s [my addition] – role to shine light on that meaning in order, like a wind-up doll, to make you go.” – Thomas T. Hills
Inspired by a writing exercise (write a letter to the hero applying to be their sidekick) at the end of a Hawaii Fiction Writers work shop on buddies and sidekicks:
“When you’re captured by the bad guys, tied up and being tortured to reveal where our client is hidden, I would shoot you in the head – then myself – to protect our client’s life.”
The Republican Party needs to do this to Trump:
Us writers need this, too. How many stories have one or more characters that have to stand up to an authority of some sort (legitimate or illegitimate)?
There is only one objective you should have when writing something really important. You want one person to take it to another person and say, “you gotta read this.” – @adcontrarian
From The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch, in his section responding to John Horgan’s 1996 book, The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age:
“Horgan accepts from the bad philosophy of ‘postmodern’ literary criticism its willful confusion between two kinds of ‘ambiguity’ that exist in philosophy and art. The first is the ‘ambiguity’ of multiple true meanings, either intended by the author or existing because of the reach of the ideas. The second is the ambiguity of deliberate vagueness, confusion, equivocation or self-contradiction. The first is an attribute of deep ideas, the second an attribute of deep silliness. By confusing them, one ascribes to the best art and philosophies the qualities of the worst. Since, in that view, readers, viewers and critics can attribute any meaning they choose to the second kind of ambiguity, bad philosophy declares the same to be true of all knowledge: all meanings are equal and none of them is objectively true. One then has a choice between complete nihilism or regarding all ‘ambiguity’ as a good thing in those fields. Horgan chooses the latter option: he classifies art and philosophy as ‘ironic’ fields, irony being the presence of multiple conflicting meanings in a statement.”
A necessary part of fiction is the reader’s “willing suspension of disbelief”. I think that part of writing an effective story is to convince your reader to suspend their disbelief.
Based on this article at Fast Company, there might be things we can do to enlist the reader’s own brain in suspending their disbelief: