The book MFA in a Box explains why I don't have an MFA -- I don't get philosophy. I don't get the nuance of the nuance of the pinprick of a needle on the flapping of a butterfly's wing in Brazil that forms a tornado in Kansas in a week and how that affects your characters. John Rember has written a book about why writers write books. He has delved deep into the mythological stories to support his case. It is a case that some people will flock to like bees to my marigolds: others will run to Anne Lamott, StephenKing, and Donald Maass for their thoughts on digging into a characters psyche in more precise and succinct language.
He could have easily written, most writers don't dig deep enough. They are unable or afraid to dig deep enough into the psyche of the character to expose the hell in their soul, and then they don't go below, into the very fires of Hell to identify the source of the fire that rages, and that, writers don't sift through the ashes of that fire to parse out that infinitesimally small glowing ember that explains why not getting a blue fire truck for their third Christmas drove that character to slaughter nineteen women dressed in blue during months in which a blue moon occurred. Or, something like that.
Okay, he makes some good points, but his tortuously elaborate explanations sometimes drove me to drink, and I'm supposed to be off diet sodas. That is part of the reason it took two weeks to read this book -- trying to pay close attention, because I must be missing something. But, I agree with his overall premise: whether you are trying to emulate Jonathan Franzen, writing whirling waltz of his own creation, or pound out a genre book that moves to its own predetermined beat to satisfy the masses that like that familiar beat, both are served by understanding their characters to a level deeper than what we are routinely spoon-fed. I'd fail his class, but I'll give his book four-thumbs up.