Friday, April 12, 2013


A negotiation is a process of exchanged agendas or points of view, begun with hopes of achieving some form of agreement in which the forces or parties involved can claim some sense of justice being done.

This process is vital to story in the broad sense of the outcome or conclusion working as a negotiated settlement between the opposing forces at play.  If story is an accelerating series of impediments and oppositions to some overt goal or perhaps the blow-back of a momentous discovery, situations you believe are present in story, then the payoff, the finale, the resolution is at the least a negotiated settlement between the competing parties.  Story is also negotiation in the sense of it being the settling of an inner conflict raging within a character.

The dialogue-like quality of negotiation is apparent where ever we look in real time, in our conversations, often in our thoughts, trickling down to moments of introspection.  In those moments you find yourself with some frequency doing the equivalent of a high school debating team, examining the choices in a given matter as they are made available to you or as they occur to you.

Negotiation shows itself in most conversations where an equivalent of Roberts' Rules of Order is introduced each time you embark on some introspection or try to think through a course of action, or join one or more companions.  There is constant negotiation for who is the leader, who gets to speak, for how long, and how the floor is yielded from speaker to speaker.

You've referred for well over ten years to the ending portions of story as a negotiated settlement.  When the notion first attracted your attention, you focused on the negotiated settlement being between the front-line characters and Fate or convention, or the Status-Quo, or any similar term you'd use to designate a plausible resolution that does not sound like a sermon or parable.

Now you think to add to this picture an ongoing yielding of the speaker's platform from one mood to another, one event to another.  But it is not as orderly as a well-regulated conversation.  Rather, it often contains barely controlled bombast or the manipulations of antagonist characters who are versed in techniques of control.

Seeing these things about story reminds you how they occurred to you.  Perhaps if you were able to live on until you broke 100, you'd have been able to think it through.  As matters stand now, having written as much as you have works out to a slight advantage.  Reading alone, however helpful and inspirational, is not enough.  A lifetime of writing past the equivalent of the coastline  has given you the most sense of direction and necessary opinion.

At one point, you thought you could argue your way to it.  Your dialogue in particular showed your evasive narrative at first, then your bombastic, argumentative approach.  For a while, your characters tended toward ironic realizations.

Now, the negotiations begin around the second or third draft.

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