The full title of this section is Fixed Action, as against Moving Action. The premise of the section is that human behavior patterns are revealing, and I think everyone would agree with that. In fact, whenever I read this section I find my head bobbing happily along in agreement for the first two pages, even as I feel a bit of discomfort that Hills seems to know me too well. Then, suddenly, I’m brought up short by the following sentence:
But just the opposite is true in fiction.
As many times as I’ve read Hills’ book you would think I wouldn’t have the same ‘Wait…what?’ moment, but I do. The reason for the disconnect is that after Hills spends two pages talking about reality he suddenly switches point of view to talk about the contrivance we call fiction. In order to make the same point-of-view switch I remind myself that looking at life and drawing lessons from life requires observation, while creating fiction requires construction. As a fiction writer it’s not enough to notice that something exists or that it’s true, you have to know how to evoke and shape that aspect of reality through craft and technique. [ Read more ]