The grave of pianist-composer Glenn Gould is inscribed with the opening notes of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Gould elected to spend eternity marked by the music he performed rather than music he composed, or the books he wrote. I mention this because there is something of music to fiction, and something of performance to the ability to pull it off, making all the parts work together. For the fictionist is both the composer and the conductor. They invent the world and select which instruments to include. But they must also ensure each instrument performs its role as part of the orchestra—so there is the fine-tuning of each instrument, and there is the piece, and both align in a way that captivates the audience. Fiction’s instruments (i.e. characters, landscapes, objects, etc.) score the music, but fiction’s techniques (syntax, diction, narrative strategy, etc.) serve as tempo-markings or indications of how the piece should be performed. The writer is its maestro. The music—the story—must be everything that is the case.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s