C.S. Lewis on writing fiction — a view that places story first, message second

I’ve never started from a message or a moral, have you? …. The story itself should force its moral upon you. You find out what the moral is by writing the story.” — C.S. Lewis, during a recorded conversation with authors Kingsley Amis and Brian Aldiss, in Lewis’s rooms at Magdalene College; from Of Other Worlds: Essays & Stories, a collection of Lewis’s writings edited by Walter Hooper

***Many, many moons later, Jerome Stern closed his comments on the literary form of allegory with this:

“But fiction has to succeed on it’s own terms. Ideas don’t bring life to a story. The story brings life to the ideas.” (from Making Shapely Fiction)


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