Wise Advice?

November 13, 2015

B. Lynn Goodwin
B. Lynn Goodwin

Here’s the wise advice:

“Remember that writing things down makes them real; that it is nearly impossible to hate anyone whose story you know; and, most of all, that even in our post-postmodern era, writing has a moral purpose.”
— Andrew Solomon, at the Whiting Awards

Do you agree?

Nicole: Definitely.

Sandee: Pretty much. I guess I need to get a few more people’s stories. Maybe I don’t know everyone as well as I thought I did.

Rob: Is there such a thing as a post-postmodern era, or is somebody making that up?

Diego: I wish I could say that to Bowen. She’s my math teacher, and she’s always telling me I’m wrong, even though my answers are written down. Or am I missing the point?

Tessa: Mostly it’s true, unless you blurt out things you don’t really mean when you’re writing a rant or something.

Mr. Mason: Sometimes it makes things real, but if I wrote that Bri never got injured it would be a lie. Are you sure this is supposed to apply to all writing?

B. Lynn Goodwin: It’s more likely to be true in memoir than in fiction. If you write something that you think is true that turns out to be fiction, that means writing helped you process more deeply. Generally it is true. Like every rule, it can be challenged.

What do you think? Click on “Leave a comment” or “lgood67334” at the top of this post and tell us when this applies in your life, or when it doesn’t, or both. 

2 thoughts on “Wise Advice?

  1. Connie Flanagan August 14, 2016 / 6:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing this eloquent quote by Andrew Solomon. I enjoy reading both fiction and nonfiction. With respect to fiction, I have to say I find an element of truth in many novels, particularly those in which the characters are well-developed. In life, as in writing, discovering the stories of individuals renders it more difficult to hate. A caveat, however, is to never judge a group by the story of just one of it’s individuals. Also, listening with the intent to argue one’s own position isn’t going to help you discover someone’s story. This is why writing your story, and reading those of others, can be beneficial. Not only may a published story reach a larger audience, but it enables readers to truly listen and experience the situation of others. (I’m speaking more of literary fiction, of course, than of genre fiction.)


  2. lgood67334 August 14, 2016 / 7:09 pm

    Great observations, Connie. Are you a writer? a reviewer? Both?

    FYI, the characters listed above come to life in TALENT. I’m not sure I’d call TALENT literary fiction, but I know that the situation(s) and the characters’ actions and reactions are all very real.

    You can learn more about TALENT at https://www.amazon.com/Talent-B-Lynn-Goodwin/dp/1629293350/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450916910&sr=8-1&keywords=9781629293356 (cut & paste).

    Thanks so much for sharing this,


    Writer Advice Managing Editor, http://www.writeradvice.com
    Author of YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers & Author of TALENT


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