Fiction starts with reality


I love Jane Long’s work.  You can find some here, and more here.  She takes existing antique photographs and turns them into whimsical, magical scenes.  What strikes me is how her works are imaginative yet (for the most part) logical extrapolations of the existing images.  Above are two children dressed in adult clothes, particularly the little boy in the military uniform.  Long’s recreation invites us to look into the future, where the two are grown up, yet reminds us that the future is uncertain, and only shows us their backs.

Fiction, when done well, does the same thing as Long’s art. It starts with a given, with something that exists, if only in general, then draws out the rich possibilities, taking imaginative, yet logical, narrative steps.  A writer sees two children, and imagines how they might grow up. And perhaps they only show us their backs, and allow the reader to fill in the blanks.

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