I’ve been reading John Gardner’s “The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers” (again). God, I love that book. It is tattered and frayed from twenty years of constant use and abuse. Highlighted, written in, and corner folded, it has offered me more guidance than any other source. I am no longer a young writer; yet, the book still provides valuable insights each time I open it.
Over the weekend I read the third chapter, Interest and Truth, that contains the following passage:
“Fiction seeks out truth. Granted, it seeks a poetic kind of truth, universals not easily translatable into moral codes. But part of our interest as we read is in learning how the world works; how the conflicts we share with the writer and all other human beings can be resolved, if at all; what values we can affirm and, in general, what the moral risks are.”
I’ve been pondering that as I proceed in writing the closing of KINGDOM. There are aspects of the book that could easily be labeled immoral by most cultural standards. Yet, I am trying to convey ideas I see as universal truths about human ideologies, about how culture actually develops, and how our culture is a product of our environment. Given a different environment, potentially more complex mores and beliefs would arise.
Anyway, these are some of my thought processes for today. “Real” work was busy, so I got a late start to writing. But it was productive if somewhat a struggle; I’ll have to see what it all looks like when I get to editing this draft. I finished chapter 36 and will start chapter 37 tomorrow.
Words written today: 1,921
Total for this manuscript: 84,832
Total for 2017: 4,124