Literary fiction and society

  • what is literature?
  • is fiction needed to build meaning out of unbothered reality?

This writing is in progress??

  • society is built on meaning?
  • literary fiction as a medium for philosophical thinking?

What is good literature?

  • literature = story + style + philosophy +
  • good style = good writing = good music = good composition (refer: Write Music by Provost)

  • just the right amount of stickyness in the composition

  • kisses, caresses, bites and punches you while either playing or fighting your awe, emotions and values
  • rich enough to let you experience and feel another character and reality
  • provides an exploratory platform for philosophical thinking, shaping or destroying or questioning ideologies
  • entertains as well as helps you find 'new meanings' and question or ponder over old ones

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words.
Five word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous.

Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring.
The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record.
The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music.
Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony.
I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length.

And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested,
I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length,
a sentence that burns with energy and
builds with all the impetus of a crescendo,
the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—
sounds that say listen to this, it is important."

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader's ear. Don't just write words. Write music.

  • what separates good from great?
  • "great literature" is transformative?
  • outlasts? universal theme?
  • influential on downstream work? innovative in some fashion?


  1. What is literature?
  2. What is literature for?
  3. Write Music by Gary Provost
  4. Philosophy through fiction
  5. A Novelist’s Tips for Writing Philosophical Fiction
  6. Plot as argument, argument as plot
  7. Philosophy and the Literary Medium: The Existentialist Predicament by Kleppner
  8. What Makes a Great Book? with Sir Jonathan Bate, Roosevelt Montas, Catherine Zuckert, & Michael Fink
  9. Why read the classics?