thread: 2005-10-20 : The Fruitful Void

On 2005-11-10, Victor Gijsbers wrote:

Hi Sydney,

I agree with you, oh, 75%. You actually CAN explicitly express the central message; it's just that it won't stick without all the pages/hours of other stuff.

I think that maybe the difference between a reporter and a fiction writer is that the former doens't need a fruitful void. He certainly, absolutely needs a lot of story in order to make a single point; arguments, facts and examples all together build the framework within which the message cannot only be expressed, but also conveyed. But the message could be expresses without them; it just wouldn't be believed or wouldn't stick.

In (good, literary) fiction, I think the message cannot succinctly be expressed. "To be or not to be, that is the question" is in and of itself merely the shallow question of whether not to commit suicide; it does not summarise the point of Hamlet. The message that is somehow expressed by Hamlet is not one of the sentences of the piece; it is not even a certain subset of its sentences. The message of Hamlet is Hamlet's fruitful void, and it can never be explicitly expressed.

Would you agree with that?


This makes SF go "75%, again"
Some fictions have a clear one-sentence "point"; some nonfictions, conversely, do not. (Many journalists make a virtue of leaving any value judgment to the reader). As for the true "point" of Hamlet -- a mountain beyond my climbing, I think.

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