Tuesday, January 14, 2020



A useful loan from firefighters, where an accelerant adds momentum and direction to a fire already in progress. Think of story as a considerable force, already in progress, then look for a potential fuel to enhance it. Characters such as Iago, in Shakespeare's Othello, Milo Minderbinder, in Joseph Heller's Catch-22, and Rebeca Sharp in William M. Thackeray's Vanity Fair accelerate the forces of impending mischief in their respective narratives.  By its inherent, striated nature, social class offers the fiction writer opportunities to add momentum to narrative. Many of Thomas Hardy's novels use social class and its conventions to force characters to even more intense behavior. Hardy's Tess of the Durbervilles provides a significant example of accelerated dramatic force. Jude the Obscure emphasizes the potential for evoking forces that prevent a character from achieving a stated goal.
Settings and scenery offer yet additional chances for acceleration of narrative. Consider the details of Pip's life when he lives with his sister and brother-in-law in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. Compare them with the surroundings Pip encounters on his visit to the estate of Miss Faversham. For an instructive treatise on how the details of setting and scenery provide accelerant, consult Zadie Smith's White Teeth.

HINT: Let no character or character's agenda, no locale or object enter a narrative without a demonstrable potential for service as an accelerant.

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