On pathos and the literary tradition…

I’ve been thinking about the passing of Ray Bradbury.  I was lucky to hear him lecture about writing at the Conference for writers I’ve gone to in the past.  Also today I was thinking of Upton Sinclair and journalism, and Steinbeck et al.

What makes some writers attack evil on the page?

Some do.  It comes from a deeply felt sense of knowing about pathos.  Pathos being a sickness in culture.  If a writer takes on something pathological as a storyteller, they want you to imagine something precise.  Or learn something.

Writing pathos is exceptionally difficult for empaths.  It actually hurts to do so.  But?  It is better to shine a light into darkness than leave everything dark.

Anyway, this is my favorite video of Bradbury talking about when his writing took a turn.

If a writer encounters real evil, such as Sinclair did, or Steinbeck, or even Bradbury in his Farenheit 451 — their writing works as cautionary tale.  As a child I was always reading Aesop’s fables.  Lucky me.

So where do characters come from?

Bits and pieces of what writers have seen and felt or lived.  It helps to have studied Depth Psychology as I did if you want to insert real pathology into your characters because you can understand them at whole levels that are much deeper.

Anyway, am thinking up a short story today.

Wishing I was at my fave Conference.  Ah well.

Life goes on.

ps: I have the most fab book for screenwriters — “Aristotle’s Poetics for Screenwriters” — I read the original Poetics when I was getting my Master’s.

Nothing changes along literary lines from Aristotle forward.  There are only new tales to tell, or stories that haven’t been heard yet.  There are heroes and antagonists.  It is the job of one well-schooled to try and cure pathos by any means possible and I think films do that best, besides being entertaining.



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