Does life sometimes imitate art? If author Morgan Robertson were alive today, he’d probably voice an opinion. Robertson’s novella, Futility: The Wreck of the Titan, which first appeared in 1898, featured an ocean liner much like the RMS Titanic. Among numerous other similarities, the real and fictional ship both sank in April in the North Atlantic after colliding with an iceberg and with insufficient lifeboats for the passengers. But the Titanic sank 13 years after the Titan met its fictional demise.
Coincidence? You decide.
Does life sometimes imitate art? I’ll venture an opinion, but not about the Titan and Titanic. This question hits closer to home.
As a new writer, I developed the interesting technique of stopping on the verge of a climactic scene, and then cutting to the next to tell the climax as backstory. (Don’t try this at home.) Needless to say, this method did not endear my writing to editors. I finally sold my first short story, but only after I mastered my fear of writing climaxes.
I thought I’d pushed through my fears to literary freedom until I signed a contract for DawnSinger, my debut novel, and received a list of requested improvements from my editor. There was a particular scene which involved garns (goblinesque creatures) attacking my heroine and her band of protectors. My difficulty wasn’t in creating the battle. The ease with which I entered into the action surprised (and even alarmed) me a little. But when one of my characters ran a garn through, causing its demise, I balked and baldly stated that he “felled the garn.” My editor rightly called me on this bit of telling.
Does life sometimes imitate art? It can indeed. If I’m afraid of the difficult places in my fiction, can it follow that I fear similar challenges in my life? The author and the woman are the same person, after all. This week I’m asking myself which locked doors I need to open. And what about you? Are there places in your novel and in your life where you tell instead of show your story, afraid to open a door and step inside?
Push through to freedom.
©2013 by Janalyn Voigt
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