Monday has arrived and my mind is percolating with things to talk about. Mostly because in class we are jumping around the book The Basic Kafka, which are works by a man named Kafka, many published after his death. I am intrigued because Kafka writes pretty short stories to get across important messages. And by pretty short, I don’t just mean 10 page stories, he’ll write a quick 300 word tale about a guy and his interaction with a police officer, and you can find so much meaning in it.
So today I wanted to talk about writing, because I realize most people on here have blogs of their own that they write for creatively. Now, I’m not the greatest at executing prose myself, but I am very good at identifying the trends of good writing. I’ve talked a bit about writing poetry, now let’s talk about writing good prose. For those lost a little bit because I don’t talk about this stuff much, prose is what you find in a regular book. Think “A Game of Thrones.” Which, in fact, is a great starting point.
A Game of Thrones is a simple story made great by complex characters. What does this tell us? Well, that characters are important. Archetypes do not exist clearly, everything is “real.” This means, good characters have flaws in addition to accomplishments, not all of which are character flaws. Some can be physical attributes. Good stories have several of these characters, because it makes things unpredictable, but not in a way that makes the reader feel like they were played.
The other notable aspect of good prose is meaning and parallelism to that meaning. To continue my Game of Thrones example, the character Ned Stark begins the story as a heroic authority figure, executing a criminal despite the criminal just doing what he felt was best. This is juxtaposed at the end of the story (spoilers!) when Ned Stark is executed. This creates a “full circle” sort of feeling in the reader, where the fall from grace is completed. This can take non-circular forms, but many good novels have them.
And then there is meaning. Meaning can be done in many words or in few words. Kafka does it in few words typically, where he creates a scenario people can identify with, then intercepts the scenario with a character made to represent something. Like a policeman scoffing at a lost citizen asking for directions. Try something like this in your writing, and you may find more success. Does that sound doable? Let me know what you think!