Fractal Geometry and fiction.

Fractal Geometry and fiction writing.

I’m no genius at Fractal Geometry but I do find Benoit Mandelbrot’s The Fractal Geometry of Nature (Freeman) to be a very inspiring book.

As I understand it, reduction or increase in scale does not alter the inherent fractality of the geometry. Take a country’s coastline for instance. It has a craggy outline, one of small and large curves, if you look down upon it from a great height it is still craggy and remains so as you zoom in on individual rocks and shingle and then beyond to sand and its craggy nature when seen through a microscope. If I have this wrong then I would welcome some enlightening comments.

It struck me that the same principles should apply to fiction writing. We all know that the novel needs to portray a beginning, middle and end (or some other structure chosen by the author). My contention is that; so should the Chapter (or Book), the Chapter sections and then the paragraph, the sentence and the clause.

The reason for the structure is—what? This made me think! I guess from my point of view I expect and expect my readers, to have a desire: for a beginning which explains the conflict or problem; an end which resolves all the issues raised; and a middle which joins the two together through a plausible journey. I contend that as much care and creativity needs to be applied to all the smaller component parts as to the overall structure. If it is, you will end up with concision, coherence, pace and readability. Every clause needs to bear its message, be entirely needed and contribute to the maximum its meaning.

I feel sure that this is not a new concept, the idea that words make up into clauses and clauses into sentences and sentences into paragraphs… and so on, is, no doubt, as old as the hills but perhaps what I have described is another way of looking at it and hence potentially an aide memoire when editing one’s work.