Monday, July 27, 2009

Verisimilitude,Credibility and Literature

Apparently in one of her scrapbooks when writing Fountainhead, Ayn Rand wrote a note to herself that read: "Don't dialogue thoughts". Guess that's some kind of inside joke, as dialoguing thoughts is what she majored in.

Kurosawa apparently used to have a co-writer whose only job was to blow the whistle. i.e. say "Ah...you are cheating. That's a convenient conversation. That character won't speak/act like that himself. You are making him speak/act thus because your story demands it".

In Unbearable Lightness, Milan Kundera dismantles characters in full view of the reading public. He pauses to comment:"It would be senseless for the author to try to convince the reader that his characters once actually lived. They were not born of a mother’s womb; they were born of a stimulating phrase or two or from a basic situation. "

Yet we, I mean I, remain perpetually wedded to notions of credibility. That what we are reading is a life and we can't help trying to draw parallels to universalize. So much so that the process sometimes go overboard :

Acquaintance with literature leads one to the extreme of looking for metaphors and inner-meanings in day to day occurrences. We pause a moment to contemplate whether in most cases, 'meaning' is an attribute of the occurrence or is something we attribute to the occurrence. To create a lifelike verisimilitude and at the same time make possible a relevance more universal than the locale specific to the story is the core challenge of a story-writer says a reader

The writer responds: Realism in literature is a pretence and shouldn't stop its pinnacle. The pinnacle would be a hyper-conversation/emotion. A conversation/emotion of such quality is rarely encountered in real life. Perhaps never. So it is an admitted departure from reality. The writer's job is to be credible enough to lead you up until that point.

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