The Basic Rules of Flight (a bonus post)

Hey Folks,

This is a bonus “extra” post, not in the regular rotation. It’s a short bit I thought you might find amusing and, with any luck, useful.

I first saw “The Basic Rules of Flight” in an article by US Navy Pilot Nicole Scherer in the August 2018 issue of Air & Space Smithsonian magazine.

The Basic Rules of Flight

1. Try to stay in the middle of the air.
2. Do not go near the edges of it.
3. The edges can be identified by objects such as trees, buildings, cars, etc.

Anyone who’s flown as pilot or passenger, successfully or otherwise, knows those basic rules to be true. Here’s my own take on the same basic rules for writing fiction:

1. Try to stay immersed in the story.
2. Do not go near the edges of it.
3. The edges can be identified in every case by mind-numbing fear expressed in thoughts such as “But what happens next? I’d better figure it out,” and “The character(s) wouldn’t say that. I’d better fix it,” and “The character(s) wouldn’t do that. I’d better fix it,” etc.

The characters, not you, are living the story. It’s their story to tell. Stand back and let them tell it. If you want to control everything, I suggest you write an autobiography.

If, on the other hand, you have the capacity to be generous enough to allow others to tell their own story while you serve only in the lesser role of the recorder, write fiction.

Speaking of which, next Tuesday (August 28) we return to our regularly scheduled programming with a post concerning a science fiction novel titled In the Siberian Fields. (But on Tuesday I’ll offer a free review copy.)

‘Til then, happy writing!


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