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Writing: On Tales

October 15, 2006

The telling of a story, and the human ability to fictionalize. What makes us able to extrapolate a story? How does one become able, when told half a story, to predict what will happen next? Multiple sources determine the ‘probability equations’ used by the mind, making one able to guess roughly the events that will likely ensue from the previous event. Causality, continuity. All that.

Where does all that come from, then? Life, and fiction; or for a better description: life, and predictions of life events from other people. All experiences, whether first-hand, second-hand, never-hand even (they call these daydreams; the unexperienced experience) … All are filtered through the human mind. There is no other perspective.

Getting these predictions correct are not very difficult. What one needs is likely immersion in the culture of the story writer, sufficient experience of common literature… An understanding of multiple cliches, sufficient life experience, even. Knowledge of classic human behaviour. Understanding of the rules of the natural universe.

Nothing is new anymore (this may be, of course, a generalization).

This isn’t new either.

Natural human beings conditioned by life expect a ball to fall towards the ground when it is released from a height of, say, 1 metre, accelerating at 9.8 metres per seconds square and reaching the ground in… I dunno, you do the math. Natural human beings conditioned by mass media (TV, the written word, etc.) expect the evil villain to divulge all dastardly deeds before attempting to murder the hero, who always, always survives and beats the villain without mussing up his hairdo.

Extrapolate this:

Once upon a time, there was a princess… Guess the last sentence. It’ll always be “… happily ever after”, won’t it. But happily ever after never exists. Life goes on.


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