BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

“Every fictional plot contains hints and traces of the stories it has excluded…” Susan Sontag QUOTES FOR WRITERS (and people who like quotes)

street-art
Every fictional plot contains hints and traces of the stories it has excluded or resisted in order to assume its present shape. Alternatives to the plot ought to be felt up to the last moment. These alternatives constitute the potential for disorder (and therefore of suspense) in the story’s unfolding.
Susan Sontag

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4 comments on ““Every fictional plot contains hints and traces of the stories it has excluded…” Susan Sontag QUOTES FOR WRITERS (and people who like quotes)

  1. Phillip T Stephens
    October 2, 2016

    This is a very complex way of expressing a Hemingwayesque idea. Every story hints at a larger one, or even more.

    He believed his stories should be so spare they only painted the minimal picture the reader needed to see the bigger story extending beyond the canvas.

    • bridget whelan
      October 2, 2016

      Thank you for posting about Hemingway. The older I get the more i appreciate his writing and what he had to say about writing. But are he and Sontag saying excatly the same thing here? Hemingway I get. Characters had lives before the story opens and they will continue to live after the last word is written. Sontag is talking about all the discarded maybes, the plot turns that have been rejected (why? for something better? more truthful? more approriate?). I’m still getting my head around that. Could she be talking more about life as it is lived – they we all contain within us the possibilities that didn’t happen: the children we didn’t have; the childlessness we didn’t experience; the road we didn’t take; the love not realised…Hmm, I’m still thinking about that. Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

  2. I took this to mean that ones many drafts and backstory results in the final text. But the reader doesn’t know what’s been rejected and so anything could happen, hence the suspense. Love the graphic BTW.

    • bridget whelan
      October 5, 2016

      Oh that’s interesting Kathy – the echoes are still in the text, not through deliberate construction, but because they are an integral part of the creative process…Glad you like the illustration. Found a wonderfully generous source of pictures and images at https://pixabay.com/. They have over 700,000 stock pictures – all free and most not requiring any kind of attribution.

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2016 by in Quotes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , .
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