The ancient philosophy of stoicism rarely, if ever, comes up when talking about creative writing. However, maybe it should be mentioned. Story creating requires a writer to develop characters, plot, twists, and torment all within the confines of an unpredictable world. Stoicism teaches individuals to concentrate their thoughts and actions in world full of unpredictable events. The two sound pretty similar.
I plot out my stories and then pants my way through them. Meaning, I generally know how and when something will happen to make the story meet certain beats and required elements. I pants how the character will react to an event. For those unaware of the lingo, plotters lay out the entire story beforehand; pantsers tend to ramble and just go with the flow.
Stoic logic requires individuals to accept events as they occur. They must then deduct what should happen next. As you accept moments as they present themselves you develop self-control to keep emotions from destroying your world.
Writers using stoic philosophy work to keep their main characters in deduction mode; they use reason to apply knowledge to a story plot point.
Still following me?
In a nutshell, it is my job as the author to help the main character make choices based on reason rather then emotion. I can’t let my detective or heroine let external events cloud their mind or choose their behavior.
I plan to take this further. I’d love the hear from you. What do you think? Does stoicism affect your stories?
© 2019, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.
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