Reply To: Conflict and the End of Fiction

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Taylor Clogston

@wordsmith Thank you so much! I always enjoy reading your insights on stuff when I come across them on the forum, so that means a lot.

I agree with you that writers need to learn the differences between East/West structures. Just that they exist, even. I don’t think the Western structure is inherently bad, but I don’t appreciate all its assumptions and I don’t find the structure inherently engaging.

But for most genre writers, you can slap together the Western structure with genre and subgenre trappings (which include a palette of human experiences and fantasies the subgenre serves) to create a product lots of people find engaging and valuable, and the same can’t be said for the Eastern structures that I’m familiar with. Most craft books and courses are aimed toward these genre writers (or Hollywood writers, which are very similar), and learning about different structures isn’t necessarily going to help those writers at the present time because their readers want something very specific.

That’s an idea I struggle a lot with. Like you, I can’t relate to Western structure when writing. On one hand, I want to glare at the lowest tiers of genre fiction and feel superior to the literary equivalent of gas station cheeseburgers

On the other, I’m not skilled enough to write them, so I have no right to find them dumb.

(also, I invite you to read my short story Bowling with the President of the United States of America, since I tried to use as much of the theory I talk about as possible when writing it)

"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

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