Reply To: Conflict and the End of Fiction

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Taylor Clogston


There is plenty of conflict–I suspect this book would fall somewhere in between Eastern and Western structure? If such a middle-ground exists–but it’s more for the sake of showing character than pushing the story.

There is certainly huge overlap between most story structures that I’m aware of, and plenty of books I’d say are definitely Eastern have plenty of conflict and linear story beats to them anyway. As you know, what your specific audience needs is more important than something as abstract as a specific story structure. Thank you for your thoughts! I really enjoyed reading them :-}


I think you’re 100% right that the best of literature overlaps and encompasses everything I mentioned. Even among my favorite books in Eastern structure, I believe I would love them far more if they had taken more inspiration from Western structure. I mentioned Haruki Murakami in the essay, and several of his books are my all-time favorites. Yet, for example, his book 1Q84 opens with some bizarre and wondrous worldbuilding and mystery which is completely abandoned by the end of the book because we realize the whole narrative has been about two people separated by parallel worlds coming together again, that all the questions of cults and subterfuge are meaningless compared to two people who belong not at all to the worlds around them finding a state of existence where they do belong.

The story served its thematic purpose. I think it would have been objectively better if it had answered all the questions it initially raised. That would have meant more adhesion to Western structure.

Despite the many issues I have with Dostoevsky’s books, I think he and C.S. Lewis strike the best balance of Eastern and Western storytelling I’ve ever seen.

I’ll join R.M. Archer in saying your algebraic example is a brilliant way of putting it =P

Finally, thank you for reading my story, Buddy! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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

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