July 30 - October 9, 2018

The most interesting thing to me
about Aristotle's Poetics is his        Many seem to be obsessed with his
insistence on the law of probability    remarks on "imitation" (aka "mimesis")
and necessity-- all events must flow    and to what extent art really does
from the first, without arbitrary       imitate life.
breaks or injected coincidences.

Looking over the things      So a plot is a path through a
I've written about           graph, beginning at start points--
writing, specifically        extreme events which do not depend
about writing fiction,       on what's gone before-- and
I'm clearly a devout         flowing through the chains of
Aristotelian:                necessity, and branching at the
                             points that are merely probable.
                                           There have to be branch points,
    DIEHARD                                because it's not true that there's
                                           only one workable plot for every
    MY_NAME_IS_MODESTY                     beginning.

In Section XVIII, Aristotle quotes Agathon
(and refers to it again in Section XXV)
with a sentiment I've heard elsewhere, but
without attribution to this early source:

  "Such an event is probable in Agathon's
  sense of the word: 'it is probable,' he
  says, 'that many things should happen
  contrary to probability.'"

And that complicates the law, as far
as probability is concerned, eh?  Are         MANIFESTO
*some* "coincidences" then required
rather than exluded?  Following a
"law" strictly always turns out to be

Is there a parallel caveat concerning
"necessity"?                                      ARISTOTLE_EMOTES

There's a necessity for unnecessary
elements or --
                                               One might even get to
 o the situation may seem unbelievable.        a defense of the episodic
                                               this way.
 o the handling may seem cliched,
   obvious and dull.                                ARISTOTLE_EPISODES

        One of my old "discoveries" about   
        writing is that there's often a     
        need for the apparently
        unecessary-- it's difficult to see             UNGAINLY_MESSES  
        what function something serves
        until you try to do without it.