On a previous thread, one of the commenters said that as writers of fiction we are charged with making sense of this chaotic world. That, in fact, ours is the most important job of all.

But is it really? I've never felt that way. We're not feeding the hungry or curing disease. We're entertainers, pure and simple. Philosophers have been pondering the meaning of life for thousands of years, with no conclusive answers. A novel isn't going to make sense of this chaotic world any more than a video game is going to mow the grass.

If I can make someone laugh, or bring a tear to their eye, or send a chill up their spine, then I feel that I've done my job. And really, it's difficult enough just to do that.

So why do you write? Do you consider yourself primarily an entertainer, as I do? Or do you aspire to loftier goals?

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Wrong ideas are not ideals. I was rather thinking about basic stuff like the 10 commandments and love thy neighbor and make a sacrifice for the common good.

But your idea of "the common good" might be different than someone else's. Obviously, someone's idea of sacrificing for the common good included hijacking airplanes and flying them into skyscrapers. When the new world was discovered, someone's idea of sacrificing for the common good included slaughtering thousands of natives--great for the common good of the conquerors, not so swell for the people who'd been living on those islands in peace for centuries. Ideologies can be dangerous. History is chocked full of people killing each other over them.

And that's why we need literature... ;)

Yes.  "Thou shalt not kill."  That's why we have crime fiction as a genre.


All wars are based on ideologies. The curious thing about the crusades and any war you can name (including the war for Troy) are nevertheless the stuff that produced heroes. And the men who discovered the new world took danger and incredible hardship upon themselves to achieve what they did.  Is there room for mercy and brotherly love in any of this? Probably. Should we discard heroism in battle as a virtue?

I certainly did not mean to stir up a hornet's nest.  But I'm glad that I did.  Jude's points are all good, but his story (I read the first few pages on Amazon) are not just fluff, he's telling us what his Pro is feeling in dangerous situations.  If some take it as a substitute for a tv show, let them.  Others might see deeper into it.   I think Jude is saying more in his writing than he is taking credit for.

For those who might know now this wonderful FanFare from Arron Copeland here is a great version by the Cincinnati Symphony.  FAMFARE

Making sense out of the world isn't figuring out the truth of the universe, it is showing people that there is a way to face things and that others understand.  Maybe it is small like dealing with a conflicting situation, but I maintain that our job is the most important.  My proof:  TV, movies, novel, graphic comics, stand up comics and I'm running out of examples.  Everyone consumes them.  Not true for other professions at are also important.

Give yourself credit.  I'm right, this time, for once in may life.  I'd better stop before Fanfare for the Common Man plays and I start taking bows.

I'm sticking with doctors, among others, as being more important. People consumption of everything cited drops way down when they die.

I'm also sticking with teachers. Aside from books, the visual media you indicate above are collaborative efforts. Someone taught the people who are going to do the work how to do it. Sure, they perfected their own skills, but, at the foundation, someone taught them to read. The fact some excellent talent are self-taught makes them only more exceptional; it does not invalidate the contributions of those who help the overwhelming majority of us.

I'm not saying writing is not important. I wouldn't be here if I thought that. Let's just not forget literature does not feed you, nor heat or light your home, or a million other things everyone has to have. Not things that enhance their lives--such as literature and music--but things they need in order to appreciate the finer things.

I always had a working theory about crime fiction, derived somewhat from H. R. F. Keating's book on writing crime fiction, that crime fiction tears apart the fabric of society then knits it back together. The thing that is unknown is exactly why this is entertaining. 

This is just the working theory that I used when trying to write crime fiction - please feel free to disagree with me or tell me about the flaws in this way of viewing the subject - I welcome it. 

I feel like it is entertaining to see the the fabric of society ripped apart - to see a murder happen in a crime fiction novel, for example, and then it is entertaining to see everything put right again - to see the killer brought to justice. Maybe it is a left brain, right brain thing. I don't know exactly why both halves of the sequence are entertaining, but you see the formula in almost every crime-oriented television show and almost every crime fiction novel. It is a very simple mechanism that you can stare at like stare at a simple action and reaction machine, and still not understand the magic of why it works.

I think Jude is saying more in his writing than he is taking credit for.

Thanks, Brian. Which book did you look at? Just curious.

Snuff Tag 9

Snuff Tag 9

Cool. That's my newest, and my next is coming out in June.

I write because I am a masochist and I enjoy being rejected by people I don't even know. Plus, I don't ever want to be rich...

I think you're on to something.

Well... There is that.


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