Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On Writing: "Araby" Problems...

I've been plugging and chugging hard on a very difficult short story for me to write, and I think I got it and I think it will get sent out soon. However, the problem I had with writing it, and a difficult thing to write, is the moment when a character realizes something without any predicated stuff. The realization rises out of the subconscious, and changes the course of the plot.

Obviously, this sort of plot point is quite point is quite difficult.

I refer to them as "Araby" problems. In James Joyce's short story, "Araby" the main character has his climactic epiphany in the shop, holding the object that he intends to give to his young crush. He realizes, in a flash, that buying the object, and giving it to the girl will do nothing for his chances with the girl. He puts the object back and goes home.

It works in Joyce.

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror is not a place where internal monologue is welcome. Inner looks upon the gears of the character's mind are not nearly as much fun as, for instance, betrayals in a multi-versal battle at the end of time.

Generally, it is better to write an action that is unexpected followed by a character reveling (or hating) the results.

Sometimes, stories come along that do not have that possibility, and you face an "araby" problem. Then, you have to find some way to sell the audience on a sudden and unexpected revelation.

One "Araby" problem is quite enough to make for a difficult story. This particular story I have been wrestling, alas, has more than one of those difficult moments.

We'll see how successful I am.

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