Iâ€™ve just finished reading a review by Kurt Andersen of Jonathan Lethemâ€™s new book A Gamblerâ€™s Anatomy in the New York Times Book Review Section.
Andersen wrote that he likes Lethemâ€™s â€œâ€¦ fundamental literary ratios — plot to pensÃ©es, comedy-to-tragedy â€“ and the prose is a pleasure, lucid sentences that swerve and surprise without being show-offy.â€
Andersenâ€™s statement is a condensed and concise lesson in writing fiction.â€
Plot to PensÃ©es (Plot to Reflection or Thought) — Pure plot novels, no matter the twists and turns, are mechanical. No matter the content a heavily plot novel is predictable. The most obvious example of this predictability are Romance Novels. Read one and youâ€™ve read them all. They are without thought or reflection because pensÃ©e would get in the way of the titillation. A momentâ€™s reflection would strip the fantasy of its power and drain the reading of any purpose or pleasure. There is a need for plot to shape and control the narrative but plot alone is like a skeleton without a face.