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On Writing. And on Trump. (Original Post) Brainstormy Aug 2023 OP
This is brilliant in its description of creating fiction - and it's especially highplainsdem Aug 2023 #1
well said, all Brainstormy Aug 2023 #2

highplainsdem

(49,480 posts)
1. This is brilliant in its description of creating fiction - and it's especially
Sat Aug 5, 2023, 11:00 AM
Aug 2023

important to have descriptions of this at a time when generative AI like ChatGPT are being pushed at individual users and businesses as "creative."

I've run across articles lately quoting AI peddlers about how good it is to have AI prompt you with something so you never have to face a "blank page." The dreaded blank page.

But the human mind is never a blank page. A writer might not have put a single word on a piece of paper or a computer screen yet, but there's a universe of creativity swirling in that mind. Any human's mind. And humans live in that universe of creativity in a way no chatbot can.

But most of all, I can see those images in the same way I saw them as I wrote them, in my mind's eye, as they say. I learned two things writing that book. I learned that telling a fictional story is a tactile experience: you live inside the story you're telling in a way that is as close to real as real can be. You walk into the rooms you're describing; you can feel the pavement of sidewalks you run down; you can hear the sounds of traffic rushing by. And I learned that living in the world of your characters, you come to love them, every one of them, heroes, villains, lovers, enemies, passerbys, cops, criminals. Even characters you preternaturally hate in the real world, you must have empathy for, in order for them to have the inner life that is as important to characters as the world they live in and the actions they take – the plot, in other words.

The experience is so complete, so immersive, I found it difficult to live in the real world around me. My mind would wander into the barracks at West Point as I sat at a table of friends in the middle of a busy restaurant. I kept a reporter's notebook in my back pocket and made notes throughout the day before I sat down to write at night. Having finished writing at 4 a.m., I awoke in the middle of the night dreaming entire scenes in the book, complete with dialogue, and wrote them down in my notebook before going back to sleep.


You can't get that from chatbot-"assisted" writing.

And I agree with almost everything Lucian Truscott - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucian_K._Truscott_IV - writes about Trump, until he says this:

In fact, with Trump, motive is either beside the point or impossible, because motive has to come from somewhere, and there is no place within him or within his story for motive to originate. It's even hard to think of his having had bad, abusive parents as a motive for his emptiness and cruelty. A good example is the time Trump infamously made fun of a disabled reporter for the New York Times, standing on a stage moving his arms awkwardly as if they were damaged and speaking in a way that he thought sounded as if he had a speech defect. Where did that come from? Where indeed does his cruelty come from in general? His bullying as a businessman who didn't pay bills he owed to the little people who did work for him, or the political bully we see practically every day, seems to have sprung to life fully formed. There is no arc from bullying schoolchildren smaller and younger than himself to bullying everyone and everything around him today. The Republican Party he has bullied into submission is just another kid on a playground to him.


Mary Trump has made a very persuasive case for how Trump was turned into the monster he is by his childhood, and especially his sociopathic father's influence:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/07/donald-trump-abuse-father-niece-mary-book

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/trump-the-bully-how-childhood-military-school-shaped-the-future-president/

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/15/891381918/mary-trump-describes-abusive-trump-family-home-says-she-will-vote-biden-2020


But I can understand Truscott feeling there's "no arc" to explain how Trump became a monster because it started so early. A baby sociopath shaped by an adult sociopath.

So for non-sociopaths, there is no place to get a handle on Trump's character and motivations that's secure enough for them to them to bridge the distance between their character and emotions and his.

Donald Trump is that rare exception to the rule, no man is an island. He is an island, and thus as a character for a novelist, he is unreachable. You can write about Trump as a reporter, but from my experience as a novelist, you can't make this shithead up.


There ARE people, many of his associates and supporters, who think they CAN identify with Trump, but they fall into two categories, both delusional:

1) Others with sociopathic tendencies who sense a kindred warped spirit in Trump, a reflection of their own worst traits, and see him as an ally or representative, who are delusional in imagining he won't turn on them, and

2) People looking for someone to follow, who pin their own fantasies of charismatic leadership on Trump once he's caught their attention, and follow that imaginary leader. These are the people who see Trump as someone sent by God, or as a brilliant businessman who nobly sacrificed his wonderful life as a private citizen because he cares about them.

Trump is still an unreachable island for those people. They just haven't figured it out yet.

Brainstormy

(2,385 posts)
2. well said, all
Sun Aug 6, 2023, 06:49 AM
Aug 2023

I have only lately become aware of the attraction of sociopaths for other sociopaths. And I can attest to the personal reality of your own fiction. I once came very close to buying a teapot for a character in one of my short stories.

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