One of the most serious challenges a writer encounters is that of creating a credibly stupid character.
Curiously, it takes less talent and less wit to make a character act, talk and look smart.
Just to think how difficult it is to place a comma or to write a good dialogue! Everything you lay on your piece of paper is so miserably hard that it borders on the impossible.
Under such terrible circumstances, when everything stands or falls with whether or not this comma or that word should really be there, plausibly depicting an idiot borders on geniality. A genius writer has to master those hundreds of little nuances that would tell nothing by themselves, but eventually would show the reader a genuine idiot, in full bloom.
Indeed, there is nothing naive or shaky about the process of making a fictional idiot talk and act like a real one.
Every delusional writer can write witty sophisms and lovely essays about life, death, love, or sex. But digging right in the middle of the „crater”, where the most tragic human mystery lies like a sleeping monster waking up starved every time you try to get close to him, that is hard. That takes some serious narrative voice.
Besides, the more you explain stupidity, the less you’ll illustrate it. And the more you let it „talk” by itself, the less you’ll have it noticed by your readers.
It is hard to create (and nurture) an alliance with your readers when you intend to depict an idiot. Most of them do not feel like giving extra-thoughts to anything involving idiots and idiocy; some of them are afraid of not ending up identifying themselves with someone’s stupid behaviour, so they purposely fail to engage in deep analysis of certain fictional scenes.
If this was the case in regard to good literature, something extraordinary happens in mediocre literature: everyone acts, talks and looks smart – from sparkling quick comments made by some main male character to the dumb depth of some professional blonde, everything transpires epistemology.
The mediocre fictional world is poisoned with wittiness, just like the Hollywood movies are poisoned with beauty. As expected, both are fakes.
The mediocre writer shows his readers a world free of idiots. Building one, is beyond his mastery. Needing one, is beyond his reasoning and belief. That is why the alliance between the mediocre writer and his readers functions perfectly. Between beautiful minds, there are no misunderstandings.
All in all, I think there are two conclusions to be drawn from this Sunday’s text:
- The smart guy of a mediocre novel makes the perfect idiot for a respectable novel.
- Much like in real life, if you want to earn a reputation as a reliable idiot, you really should be looking for a reliable audience.
Do you see what I mean?