Sunday, February 12, 2017

Putting Opinions into stories (The Chekhov Paradox)

Dear Want-to-be-Writers of the World,

Today I want to talk about the practice of putting opinions and morals into stories. This is something that many a writer does. But in my opinion, should not be done. And thus, in three sentences we have hit what I have called the Chekhov Paradox. It is named after Anton Chekhov, who believed that - in order to write good stories - a writer should write from a neutral viewpoint. And that realism should take precedence over providing answers.

This is a paradox, because while I agree with this view, I can never say so in a story. Because if you do so, you violate the very principle of not putting an opinion in a story. (Fortunately, this blog is slightly more flexible in that regard.)

To continue....I feel this neutrality is not only better story telling, but it forces the reader to think. If the writer does not provide a morale or answers, but merely questions, the reader must find them for him or herself. Further more, I agree with Mister Chekhov that talent is more important then opinion.

Why ? Well, as I said in my previous entry.....Writing is easy - there are plenty of writers out there. But good writing - which has a chance of improving the world - that is hard. Extremely hard. And rare. One last opinion....

Never, ever presume/say you have talent. The only writer I know to have done so, was Harry Mulish. (I know many people in the Netherlands consider his books classics. I do not.) The man was arrogant and selfish. At least...In my opinion...But was he really ? Or do you agree ? Decide for yourself.

Edmond Dantes

Edit: After I finished this piece, I read it on the blog myself. And I noticed it had an aura of arrogance. So while I accused Mister Mulish of arrogance, I have to admit that I am susceptible to it as well. So, my last tip....keep your ego in check.

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