Re: RARA-AVIS: "The Long Goodbye" -- More heresy

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 07 Nov 2010

  • Next message: Eric Chambers: "RARA-AVIS: Re: "The Long Goodbye" -- More heresy"

    Ancient rule of storytelling. If you want a name, I'd nominate Aristotle. He was pretty expansive on the importance of the internal logic of a narrative. From his Poetics:

    "In the characters too, exactly as in the structure of the incidents, [the poet] ought always to seek what is either necessary or probable, so that it is either necessary or probable that a person of such-and-such a sort say or do things of the same sort, and it is either necessary or probable that this
    [incident] happen after that one. It is obvious that the solutions of plots too should come about as a result of the plot itself, and not from a contrivance, as in the Medea and in the passage about sailing home in the "Iliad". A contrivance must be used for matters outside the drama-either previous events which are beyond human knowledge, or later ones that need to be foretold or announced. For we grant that the gods can see everything. There should be nothing improbable in the incidents; otherwise, it should be outside the tragedy, e.g. that in Sophocles' "Oedipus"."

    Of course, breaking rules is what makes crime fiction possible.


    ----- Original Message -----

    From: "Patrick King" <>

    > Exactly, "no more logical than the way things happen in real life."
    > Fiction is *supposed to be more logical than real life.
    > *************************
    > Wait a minute! Who made this rule?... and why didn't they tell Jim
    > Thompson... or James Joyce?

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