Rendered Fat Content


Robert Lawson, Pegasus (not dated)
" … Unbelievable …"

The plot twist might qualify as the most over-used literary conceit. Plot twists should appear only when absolutely necessary and should generally be less dynamic than most authors seem to presume. One need not necessarily rip the wings off the plane to affect a serviceable change of course. A wing-shedding turn might most properly be reserved for a once in a lifetime event, and even then, will very likely seem overplayed.

The general rule for believable fiction differs from the same rule for non-fiction, or what's posing as non-fiction.
I, personally, believe that there's no such thing as non-fiction, for all writing and, indeed, all Authoring necessarily gets filtered through a writer (Author), thereby diminishing objectivity and so yielding some fictional aspects, fiction carrying the writer's (Author's) impressions in lieu of actual descriptions. Curiously, non-fiction requires a non-objective observer's explicit presence, someone there to declare that the sky appears blue to them in lieu of simply declaring that the sky 'is' a fictional blue. In fiction, a writer (Author) can seamlessly mind read, reporting how another feels or what another's thinking, when no actual person holds that capacity. For me, if it wouldn't make believable fiction, it's often because the story's not actually fictional, but at least based upon some real event, the tell being that the TwistingPlots extend beyond apparent imagination. The unthinkable actually happens. Fiction requires an imagination, which has limits.

I think that TwistingPlots need not actually twist very much to prove effective. A small insight might more effectively reframe than any earthquake. This morning, I'm recovering from an evening spent watching breaking news happen along Colorado's Front Range, The Muse's and my home for the six years prior to us moving here last March. A fire, combined with extremely strong winds, seems to have basically eliminated two small suburban towns in an afternoon. Hundreds of buildings, mostly homes, were burned to their foundations, leaving nothing to scavenge. Tens of thousands evacuated, many of them suddenly homeless. See how this story would make truly crappy fiction? How nobody could possibly believe that such a thing could happen? A sure sign that we're dealing with non-fiction.

I classify my work as fiction. Some of my more dedicated readers might recall that I kind of had a conniption because I couldn't quite figure out how to classify my work. I asked a friend who teaches library science to read a manuscript and suggest a classification, and he did: Historical Autobiographical Philosophical Fiction. The label seems to carry deep contradictions. How can an autobiography be considered fiction? That said, I love the apparent contradictions, for they, like my distinction between fiction and non-fiction, strongly suggest that we're dealing with non-fictional work, fiction being incapable of believably carrying such contradictions. That said, I accept that given my memory and experiences, I'm probably incapable of remembering enough to describe what actually happened. Besides, stories demand certain structures which do not often occur in real life, so fiction's essentially the only genre available if a writer ever expects to be accepted as an author. Then again, too many TwistingPlots and everyone's fairly certain to notice that the work couldn't possibly be fictional.

If fire can destroy entire towns in an afternoon, whole housing developments, one of which we'd visited a couple of times to see friends who'd since, gratefully, moved, then anything can happen. Especially the unthinkable. And we'll never be prepared for these experiences. Their very unbelievability will ultimately render them undeniable. Haven't you noticed that the most common word people exclaim when they encounter some TwistingPlots tends to be "unbelievable?"


This Friday, today, marks the final day of 2021, a consequential year, overall unbelievable. A Plague Year. A year in which The Muse and I finally finished our long exile. The year of The Grand Refurbish. The year of unprecedented heat and record-setting cold, one of drought and flooding and fire, one of final ending as well as new beginning. A fine and contradictory year. One that ends with us here rather than there for a change, but still oddly estranged from the family we'd imagined seamlessly reconnecting with. Separated by snow and Covid, we continue our sequestration, creating believable fiction with occasional dabbles into the absolutely unbelievable.

I began this writing week
BreakingRhythm "I might break my stride or bust a rhyme and improve the quality of my experience."

I then stumbled into a little
Deadlining, which never seems like a little. "Suffocating seems an unpromising strategy for achieving anything."

I engaged in some
Juggling, which proved to be my most popular posting this period. "The path toward Authoring demands some soul-crushing effort."

Authoring inevitably involves creating something that's
AlreadyBeenDone, but in your voice. "We speak in familiar dialects and tell the self same stories over and over and over again, rather like reassuring mantras."

I tried to take a day off and largely failed in
Fallowing. "I felt as though I had been sleeping on plank flooring, which I had been, but I felt warm and cozy."

I described the manuscript
Proofing ritual. "I must suspend my disbelief and hold any belief loosely, for I'm discovering what I've written, standing a little aside and seeing the structure for the very first time."

I ended my writing week by introducing my
InnerAuthor. "What about who and what I really, actually am? I'm really, actually all and none of them, with my InnerAuthor receiving more appreciative reviews. The leather elbow patches make the real difference."

And so my writing week ends. My writing year ends here also, barely into a fresh new Authoring Series. For the record, I this year completed writing my HeadingHomeward, SettlingInto,Homemaking, and Homemade series, four book-length manuscripts which I'm presently Authoring. I'm learning an awful lot about myself so far with this Authoring series, realizing that I already possess considerable knowledge about BreakingRhythm, Deadlining, Juggling, doing what's AlreadyBeenDone, Fallowing, Proofing, even discovering my InnerAuthor. Thank you for following along through this receding year. May your new year prove as unbelievable to you as this year has been to me, such that it could not have possibly been fiction but only the real McCoy.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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