Omnicient Narrator


I was trying to write myself into a story. I imagined a scene I which one of my fictional characters dreamed me into existence- a piercing of the veil between reality and narrative, and an interesting exercise I self reflection. The character did not appreciate this much: he resented immediately that I was his creator and that presumably I knew everything there was to know about him, past and present and future. But I don’t, of course: even as a creation of my own mind I find myself uncovering pieces of the character bit by bit without deliberately them. Even though I define the arc of his story, I find myself following his lead to discover how he gets there.

But if I am all powerful over his whole life, he asks, why have I made his life so difficult? Why could I not have written him successful and happy? If he it’s one of my favorite characters (and he is) why do I drive him along a story arc so fraught with angst? 

It’s the age old question: if god is all powerful, why is there still suffering? I never thought I would be considering it from the god point of view. Why should I allow suffering to happen to a character that I (supposedly- any writer knows that this isn’t true) have ultimate control over?

Well, it’s necessary to the story, for one thing. If there’s no struggle, there’s no arc. The misery within the moment propels the story- allows it to build and resolve ( or not resolve) according to the needs of the larger narrative. The story’s the Thing. Isn’t it? Does this character’s life merely exist for my entertainment? By extension, is all human suffering merely entertainment for the gods? Romeo laments “O I am Fortune’s fool” but aren’t we all?

This was not a satisfying answer. My character rejected it and so would I. Any story is designed to be entertaining, but does that preclude out from being meaningful? Perhaps the only real difference between my character and myself is that I know how his story ends and he doesn’t. I know how necessary each part of his journey is in order for it to resolve properly. Perhaps this is also true of my relationship with my own creator- that my own struggle and frustration is necessary to some larger arc that I cannot see the end of: perhaps meaningful, perhaps entertaining. Perhaps I will never know the meaning of my own journey: perhaps the meaning of my life isn’t intended for me myself but for some outside audience that I may never know.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on December 2, 2016.

One Response to “Omnicient Narrator”

  1. […] few days ago I wrote a post about having a conversation with one of the characters that I was writing. I figured I might as […]

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