Somerset Maugham: A novel should have a story

  What the novelist presents to the reader is a criticism of life, which may not be very insightful or profound, but it does exist.
  I have read many books about fiction in my life for self-improvement purposes, but in general the authors of these books tend to hold a view similar to that of the British novelist HG Wells, that fiction should not be regarded as a way of entertainment. They agreed that the story is not the most important part of the novel, in fact, in their view, the story even constitutes a hindrance in the reading process of the novel, it distracts the reader from paying attention to the truly valuable Content.
  What they don’t seem to realize is that, in fact, the story is the lifeline that novelists throw out to keep readers from losing interest. These people think that it is storytelling for the sake of storytelling that makes this kind of narrative literature inferior, however this view seems very strange to me, because like possessiveness of possessions, the desire to hear stories It is also an ingrained part of human nature. This thirst for story has always been extremely strong, as can be seen in the current boom in detective fiction.
  In fact, to describe a novelist as “no more than a storyteller” is certainly a scornful disparagement. Through the choice of the events and characters narrated, and through the creator’s own attitude towards these people and events, what the novelist presents to the reader is a criticism of life. This criticism may not be very insightful or profound, but it does exist. And as a result of this, novelists play the role of ethicists in such a way that they themselves are imperceptible.
  We live in a world full of chaos and turmoil, and it’s the novelist’s job to keep an eye on it all. Our futures are unpredictable, our freedoms are constantly under threat, we are constantly plagued by anxiety, fear and frustration, and many social norms that used to be unquestionable now seem out of place.
  These are no doubt very serious questions, and yet works of fiction that deal with them often leave readers feeling dull and difficult to read, and authors are acutely aware of this. After the invention of the contraceptive pill, for example, the highly valued concept of chastity has lost its effectiveness, and novelists are quick to discover the changes this change has had on the relationship between the sexes, so whenever they feel they need to add a little more to the reader’s attention When the content is written, the characters in the pen will be arranged to turn the clouds and rain. And I’m not quite sure if they did it carefully. British statesman Sir Chesterfield once commented on sex: its pleasures are short-lived, its poses comical, and its costs high. Had Jazz lived to this day and read some of the novels of the day, he might have added a few more lines to his argument: the behavior is cookie-cutter, and the description of it is repetitive and boring. .
  A big trend in fiction writing these days is to focus on characters rather than events. Of course, shaping the characters is important, because only by becoming familiar with the characters in the novel can the reader empathize with them and thereby focus on the things that involve them. However, this focus on the characters themselves rather than the events between them is only one of many novel writing techniques. The existence of simple and rough writing that simply focuses on telling the story and shaping the characters is equally reasonable. In fact, good novels such as “Gill Blas” and “The Count of Monte Cristo” are written in this way. If Scheherazade in “One Thousand and One Nights” just blindly portrayed the characters’ characters and didn’t tell the magical stories seriously, her head would have been lost.

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