What is plot, anyway
It once occurred to me that taking people along a linear stretch known as plot was over, that as a writer I could no longer think it was novel to drag people through crisis and struggle.
I penned the Prague Manifesto, which said among other things that, "For us to write as they did is to treat our characters and their experiences like performing circus animals, telling them to sleep, eat or walk; laugh or cry; or kill themselves over a miserable life we created for them. Instead, we must provoke our readers to find themselves in new ways through our works."
What I meant in those days was that a Dostoevskian novel was no longer a legitimate pursuit for a writer, that we had to push the boundaries of fiction.
I was also pretty angry at the monarchy among U.S. publishing which favors plot-based writers and ignores others. I think of Ivan Klima in Prague, a kind man whose novels are flawed but brim with sentiment. Would he see print here?
Funny thing, those manifestos. I picked up and read Dr. Zhivago, and realized there was no better calling for a human being than to write a book like that one. I abandoned my credo that plot was dead and embarked on a novel full of circus tricks. But, that book as it stands today, really does press the concept, and I veer left, right and backward as much as move people forward. That is how I have made peace with going from A to B.