When we create novels or even short stories, we create fictional worlds with their own unique ways of being and demands. Just recently, I came across a range of views about the imaginary worlds that we create and thought I’d share them:
“A novel is a mirror walking down a road.” Stendhal
“A novel is an agreement about the nature of what is real.” Salman Rushdie
“As a writer of fiction, it is my job to work through silence, to enter the minds of my characters, to create voices for them, to give them a life that will matter emotionally and intellectually to others.” Colm Toibin, The Testament of Mary
“A novel is a mirror walking down a road” — This quote intrigues, doesn’t it? And in many ways, novels are mirrors.aren’t they, held up to reflect our world back to us in a way that enables us to understand and absorb all it offers us more fully.
“A novel is an agreement about the nature of the real” — Such a straightforward, but compelling statement! When we open the pages of a novel as readers, we and the author create a world together. It may be fashioned from the writer’s imagination and even challenge our beliefs, but for us to truly enter into the world that arises from the page, we must fundamentally accept the “rules of engagement” the author offers us.
“As a writer of fiction, it is my job to work through silence” — What a gift we writers give our readers! We go into the silence and we return with words that make the silence speak. I think it can be very useful for those of us who create fiction, to think of our writing as arising out of the vast unknown. I had a drama coach who used to say that every play begins in silence — so does every novel and short story. Even nonfiction is a way of bringing and ordering life out of silence. When we view our work this way, it encourages us to listen more deeply with our inner ear.
Some inspiring ideas to ponder as we all write on!