On Writing, Fiction, Non-Fiction, and . . . Possibilianism?

Some days the hits just keep comin’ (er, um, because I’m on my lunch break??).

Apropos of all the other writer-related stuff (about which I’ve written more in the past week than in all of the six years I’ve maintained this blog), this interesting interview with David Eagleman.

A couple of money quotes:

On making complex ideas accessible (something dear to my heart):

I just follow the rule I tell all my students: if you can’t explain it to an eighth grader in a way that he/she would understand it, then you don’t understand it. As a corollary, one must understand the importance of narrative. Our brains have evolved to care about story. If you want to penetrate the brain of a listener, wrap the information in things they care about.

On writing “academic texts,” non-fiction, and fiction:

In academic texts there is a particular landscape of facts that needs to be surveyed. In nonfiction one chooses a particular path through that landscape, taking the reader on a special journey of your choosing. In fiction one takes off into the third dimension.

Also, Eagleman is also responsible for a “movement” (his term, not mine) called “possibilianism.” Who knew?

Have I mentioned how much I missed blogging?

2 thoughts on “On Writing, Fiction, Non-Fiction, and . . . Possibilianism?

  1. The Eagleman quote is the one you should’ve left to defend yourself during the fiction-writers-as-academics debate – over and over again. The difference between an academic text and fiction is obvious. The fact it needed to be argued over again and again, and with no appreciable results, is hilarious. It’s like arguing about whether water is wet. If you ever do write a non-fiction book about water being wet, don’t forget to research the ocean by actually touching it and do leave about a million footnotes.

  2. Pingback: Free resources for writers to be #amwriting | Zara ~ a writing story


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