Why do I write romance? Why does anyone write genre fiction? I have a theory, the Theory of Accelerated Karma.
The Bible says, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
The Chinese say, “Plant squash, harvest squash; plant beans, harvest beans.”
An anonymous sage once said, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words.Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits.Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
All pretty darn good definitions of karma, which is but action and reaction, cause and effect.
God moves in mysterious ways. And so does karma. It’s all a question of timing. The eastern religions take a longer view of things, through multiple lives and cycles of rebirths and re-deaths. See the corrupt fat cat who goes to his grave feared and respected? Don’t worry. In his next life he would be a pincushion. Okay, okay, not a pin cushion, a garden slug. Or that hen in Chicken Run who becomes dinner.
Karma has no hurry. It is ineluctable, but not always timely. Whirling about in our brief, chaotic lives, looking at the mess that surrounds us—that sometimes is us—it’s tempting to throw in the towel and say, I give up, the literary fiction writers have it right, we all live in quiet desperation all the time, I never writ, nor no man ever loved, and certainly no woman ever achieved happiness.
And then there are us dauntless genre writers. We say, bollocks. We know quiet desperation—what writer doesn’t?—but we also know it’s not all there is to life. We know happiness is possible–heck, better than that, doable. We know Justice not only exists, but is inevitable.
Genre fiction is karma on a compressed time frame. In genre fiction, when people make the hard choices, when they sacrifice what’s easy for what’s right, their karma work out all its kinks by the end of 400 pages. It means that when Darth Vader breaks with Darth Sidious and saves Luke, the evil galactic empire is rent asunder and Anakin Skywalker redeemed. It means that Pinocchio gets to be a real boy. And it means that as Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy rise above their pride and prejudice, we close the book with an unshakable belief that they would live a happy life together.
It is not happy endings that we deliver, but a fresh slate, an affirmation of the fundamental balance of the world. We might not see it played out before us, and certainly it’s not often portrayed in the news, but we feel it in our bones, the turning wheel of karma, the retribution and reward just around the corner.
And we write what we know to be true. And we accelerate it.
11 thoughts on “The Theory of Accelerated Karma—Part I”
I love your blog, and your writing, and I cannot wait to become a reader of your books.
I love this. What a great essay. And so true. Thanks for giving me a new way to look at storytelling and karma. (I write a lot about karma for my day job…now I get to think about it in a whole new frame of reference!)
Another inspiring post on your blog! A very intriguing look at storytelling.
You are so eloquent.
I love this post… the talk on Karma is one of great interest. I’ll be back to see what you have to say next.
Storytelling is the threads that keep all consciousness tied together. I agree with you that it is innate and a part of our being and sometimes we don’t know where it came from. It is believed that Karma flows from one lifetime to the next and is what connects us to each other, so why not storytelling. From all areas of life, no matter what the human beings decide to do with it, the basics are all the same and are the true nature of how we feel. It is from there that most writers – write. Thanks for sharing such interesting thought processes…
I agree with Beth. Eloquent post. Thanks for sharing that.
Again – such wonderful thought processes! I agree totally and enjoy your expressions of feelings. Take care – LC
Thank you, everyone. The pleasure of your company makes me smile.
Almost exactly 15 years later….
Was looking up the ThunderBolt Path and found this old blog. If anyone is still active from this page..
It’s the fiction writers that determine destiny. Which is why it is so imperative to be writing stories with positive outcomes. The conditioning of the mind toward armageddon needs revisioning toward happy ends.
Happy ends to balance all the horror plots since Lovecraft.
Funny how you stumble upon this post after so many years. But I totally agree that optimistic endings are a thing that need to exist in this world.