Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Gas Man Cometh

I had the gas man in today. Now, he's called the gas man because he services my boiler but this particular bloke gets that title because he gasses - a lot. Not that I mind someone chatting away, it's just that - well, there's an art to conversation isn't there? Just like there's an art to writing a story. It can't be just a stream of consciousness because who's interested in that? Even when a story appears to be just a stream of consciousness it's very likely there's a lot more going on. That's the skill of the author. And the better they are at it, the less you notice.

Writing fiction, like conversation, is give and take. Just as in good conversation we must listen as much as talk, in writing good fiction we must anticipate the reader's expectations and meet them. If we simply drone on and on about all the stuff we researched about fly fishing for four pages, thinking we'll impress with our extensive knowledge, we risk losing their rapt attention.

Still, I can't complain. At least my boiler's serviced.

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