Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Not a Very Good Wizard

Your characters must endure the pitfalls and pratfalls you contrive for them without any apparent awareness of your presence. In effect, they must be caught up in their own dreams, slowly coming awake to the Reality you've created for them, struggling to accommodate the cognitive dissonance of awakening in the Reality you've created for them rather than emerging from their own sleep.

In yet another aspect of the effect that is fiction, you, when you compose fiction, are the Wizard of Oz as portrayed by the actor, Frank Morgan, in particular when he tells Dorothy Gale, as portrayed by Judy Garland, "I am not a bad man, I'm just not a very good wizard."

You are observing your characters, listening closely to them for the clues they offer as they attempt their ways through the mazes you've constructed for them. In simultaneous gestures, you are observing their individuality and attempting to stay ahead of them, each of them and you looking for ways out of the puzzle. Both you and them experience surges of frustration and exhilaration as the process of story accelerates.

Story is the framework, the crucible, the maze. Some of your characters may come to suspect they are caught in a pissing contest between God and Satan, as brought to dramatic dimension in The Book of Job. Some of them may in effect pray for guidance or, if not of any particular religious bent, appeal to the fates for some kind of guidance. 

So be it; you are not here to engage in those levels of existential speculation. You are here to manage aspects of human behavior through the tunnels and high altitudes of choice and exacerbated circumstance.

You are not by any means attempting to lecture the reader. You are here to learn from your characters and their circumstances in much the same way you learn from your students.

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