Friday, June 09, 2006

Rick Bass on Reading Fiction

Rick Bass on reading fiction:

Above all, in the reading of good fiction, the reader is called upon not only to believe in the thing being described, but to feel it deeply even while knowing full well on some conscious level going in that it ain’t true—that it’s made up. This is a double stretching, one that can require of the reader’s mind an extraordinary suppleness. I think that almost everyone would posit that this is a good thing.

Rick Bass, “Why the Daily Writing of Fiction Matters” in in Will Blythe, ed., Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction (1998).


jenclair said...

I like the term "double stretching." Bass' remarks call Coleridge's "the willing suspension of disbelief" to mind, with emphasis added to willing. The willingness to enter another world, another life.... Of course, the author must create an entry to the world for the reader to inhabit.

litlove said...

And in a lot of fiction that's experimental, the reader is required to do even more, piecing fragments together, being made aware of the constructed nature of the text, or sometimes even left in doubt as to who is talking and what is happening. I think readers are becoming more and more sophisticated in what they can deal with textually. I suppose what I'm saying is that readers are highly Darwinian!