How to write fiction

Conceal don’t feel: how to write fiction without naming feelings 2

knight armor
Photo by Maria Pop on

It’s been a few pages from Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari since the last entry by the same title and should have sported the number one (been a few pages from The two towers by Tolkien too, that I haven’t finished reading if you might believe). In those pages, I’ve met a very interesting and logical summary of the social change and its reflection in literary expression since Harari inquired the same from an opposite point of view.

It is also, like reading Joseph Campbell in a Historical perspective —instead of psychological. Harari matches feelings, mainstream ideas and the way they’re presented in literature or media in something that might or not have a nexus to the previous entry: Conceal don’t feel: how to write fiction without naming feelings. To this day, I don’t feel myself able to explain it any better. I might be good at writing but not as good (which doesn’t mean practice won’t turn around the tables).


To understand it, we need to grasp the fact that Nuval explains Humanism as if mentioning a religion with priests and mysteries and ceremonies. In his opinion, not just the gods gather people around themselves.  Also a series of postulates can attract believers among our species’ individuals.  Their ideas guiding us through the world as a sort of moral philosophical guide. Such as: democracy, patient-physician confidentiality and medical ethics.

Humanism starts its faith dogmas, with human life’s value as thematic axis or universe’s centre.

Compared to Christianism, which places a trinity (from orthodox to protestant and new age) in the centre of the universe and us as vessels of their unlimited kindness and wisdom….. mere vessels of an external will. For this type of world’s conception, human feelings DO NOT have any interest. Mainly cause otherwise, you can’t manipulate people to waste their lives sowing the fields of their Lord (both in the physical realm and the spiritual one).

In humanism (some or many people mix it up to beliefs in god), human lives are experiences. Those experiences count as… tourism! Art and tourism go hand in hand set in selling great experiences: snow, drunk/stoned orgies, mind blowing fucks. Don’t you believe me? I don’t need you believing me, I need you asking yourself what was the last great experience you coveted? Otomí route,   Niagara Falls, Californian wines or taste wine parties (wherever it is that wine is made), Bali trips, fire flights in Tlaxcala, Gangnam exclusive clubs for those under 30 y.o. , the decathlon?

Summarizing: the quest for change through the human experience. To say so, this man speaks of the quest plot as a product of humanism.

Shall I quote a little? Yep, I will quote a little.


“Similarly, whereas most premodern narratives focused on external events and actions, modern novels, films and poems often emphasize feelings. Greco-Roman epics and medieval chivalric romances were catalogues of heroic deeds, not feelings. One chapter described how a brave knight fought a monstrous ogre, and killed him. Another chapter recounted how the knight rescued a beautiful princess from a fire-spitting dragon, and killed him. A third chapter narrated how a wicked sorcerer kidnapped the princess, but the knight pursued the sorcerer, and killed him. Small wonder that the hero was invariably a knight, rather than a carpenter or a peasant, for peasants performed no heroic deeds.

Crucially, the heroes did not undergo any significant process of inner change. Achilles, Arthur, Roland and Lancelot were fearless warriors with a chivalric world view before they set out on their adventures, and they remained fearless warriors with the same world view at the end. All the ogres they killed and all the princesses they rescued confirmed their courage and perseverance, but ultimately taught them little.

The humanist focus on feelings and experiences, rather than deeds, transformed art. Wordsworth, Dostoevsky, Dickens and Zola cared little for brave knights and derring-do; instead they described

how ordinary labourers and housewives felt.”

After this paragraph, he exemplifies how Survivor[1], instead of gruesome bloody battles, thigh combats to death and one victor; to the likings of the medieval Patrice or Greek-roman spectator, offers us five minutes of challenges p.e. pre-school level and lots of chatting about wat other said and the resulting feelings.

A narrative change.  

[1] I’ve never watched the programme, I’ll have to believe him.

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