Read the assumptions with care.
Be prepared to justify your subsequent work.
Assume the following:
- Character is Fate. This dubious principle presupposes that the only accidents in life are DNA and parents—after that, we enjoy free will. Suppress your laughter.
- The artist holds a mirror up to life. If he isn’t a damn fool, the mirror is large enough to hide the artist. The artist frantically waves from behind the mirror at an impatient audience that prefers gazing at its own reflection.
- The literary artist presents all that is necessary and all that is sufficient to make meaning, but not a syllable more. No one believes this, but who can imagine a Final Examination without this notion?
- In these ways, literature illuminates Life. When things seem inexplicable, we fall back to religion or succumb to literary criticism. None has answers, but reality is too terrifying otherwise and any narrative is better than no narrative. We all require shelter.
Invent an elaborate lie so persuasive that even you believe it.
Caution: Invent no religions.
Give your lie a suggestive title. Listen as people whom you love and who love you interpret your lie. They will congratulate you on being clever, but pay them no heed. Never confess to having an imagination; no one will believe you. Reassure them that your lie is based on true events, as that is what they will believe anyway.
Fill no more than two Bluebooks.