Monday, December 11, 2017

Precision For the Sake of Reality --

-- Reality for the sake of fantasy.

"Fiction is an art that calls for the strictest attention to the real -- whether the writer is writing a naturalistic story or a fantasy. I mean that we always begin with what is or with what has an eminent possibility of truth about it. Even when one writes a fantasy, reality is the proper basis of it. A thing is fantastic because it is so real, so real that it is fantastic. Graham Greene has said that he can't write, 'I stood over a bottomless pit,' because that couldn't be true, or 'Running down the stairs I jumped into a taxi,' because that couldn't be true either. But Elizabeth Bowen can write about one of her characters that 'she snatched at her hair as if she heard something in it,' because that is eminently possible."

-- From "Writing Short Stories," in Mystery and Manners, by Flannery O'Connor.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1969.

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