On Becoming Minor Gods

We beginning fiction writers have ever before us a pantheon of minor gods who create the universe of story that is, aside from loved ones, our greatest joy. These deities are many, diverse and revered, and our greatest desire is to create as they have created. We summon muses, dig deep for hidden talents, set imaginations free and produce work that is indeed inspired, indeed creative, but which is, when laid next to the stories of the minor gods, impaired.

Those of us who will forever remain unread review this work and pronounce it good. Those of us who sense the defects in our creations rethink and redouble our efforts. Working harder is not, however, minor godhood ordained. Common to fledgling writers is the belief that the power and prowess of a minor god resides within us, that it need only be awakened, need only be taken out and exercised, or need only be recognized by minds capable of discerning minor god greatness.

To become minor gods, we first recognize that we are not minor gods; that stories—as our material universe is built to a mathematical code—are built to a dramatic code; that grammatical constructions adhere to a cognitive code; and that good writing is principled.

To become minor gods, we combine talent, desire and passion with craft. We learn how minor gods structure story, how they structure sentences, how they structure paragraphs, how they structure scenes, how they became minor gods.

When we have successfully gathered all this fire and with it forged our work, aspiring writers will read our stories and—as good stories never really end—will wish to create as we have created.


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