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September, 2013


In this issue... Escalation in Fiction (and Life)

Escalation in Fiction (and Life)

by Bruce L. Cook
Publisher, The Author-me.com Group

In fiction, as in life, stressful situations lead to escalation. The fiction author sets a conflict (a stressful situation), and the characters react, often resorting to escalation. This makes the story so exciting... (Continued below...)










Escalation... (continued)

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Think of Dr. Seuss. He conjured up the delightful Butter Battle Book, in which the Yooks and the Zooks battle each other over breakfast food. The Yooks, who wear blue and eat their bread with the butter side up, are on one side. The Zooks eat their bread with the butter side down.

The battle between these two groups escalates, starting with a mere slingshot. The counter-weapon is a triple slingshot, and then comes the slingshot that catches rocks from the triple weapon and sends them back.
Next the Yooks use a weapon powered by  Poo-A-Doo powder and ants' eggs and bees' legs and dried-fried clam chowder. The Zooks, in return, fight back with an eight-nozzle elephant machine that shoots high-explosive sour cherry stone pits.

Not to be outdone, the Yooks devise a device with spindly mechanical legs and four faucets on the back to "sprinkle blue goo all over the Zooks!" Alas, the Zooks create the same machine to fight back. Finally, both sides devise a compact weapon named for the first nuclear weapons invented, the Bitsy Big-Boy Boomeroo. As with nuclear bombs there is no defense. In the end, the generals for each side wait for each other and the questions is – which will be first to use the terrible weapon and trigger mutual destruction for all.

Now, for a fiction author, it’s obvious that escalation is interesting. We might even try to avoid a comparison with real day-to-day existence. But really –who would kill thousands of people just because they don’t butter their bread on the same side?

Try a new scenario. One side kills people with missiles and guns. The other sits back in a palace and sends airplanes with deadly chemicals. Now which side is best? And, as an author, would you stop by merely telling what happened?
The real question is – would it be possible for the two sides to tolerate their differences? Is it really necessary to kill so many people just to get your way? Even children should know better than that.

I would challenge authors not to stop with just telling the horrible story.

Instead focus on harmony among peoples, mutual respect, and plentiful application of the golden rule, however it’s expressed in the cultures involved. (And, believe me, it is always there.) Show how individuals are taken advantage of by those who hold power over valuable resources like oil, water, and the engines of economic production.

In your writings, try to help world leaders find ways to make peace real, not just a figment of fiction.

The ABC of Harmony, Global Harmony Association, 2012 – Leo Semashko
Scarboro Missions Golden Rule across the World’s Religions – Paul McKenna
The Coming Interspiritual Age, 2012 – Kurt Johnson
An Introduction to the Just Third Way – Normal Kurland
The Butter Battle Book – Dr. Seuss

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Publishing New Writers,

September, 2013 (no. 1409)


Dr. Bruce L. Cook
1407 Getzelman Drive
Elgin, IL 60123

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