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18 aAnd change the subject.
19 This is so important that it is, all by itself, practically the only thing you actually need to know about artistic writing,
20 And it is so simple that you don't ever have to agonize over it at all.
21 Indeed, if you like, you can write complete novels using nothing but this bsimple technique.

1 My final words about artistic writing concern setting,
2 Which is important up to a point,
3 But only up to a point.
4 In general, it is far better to place your characters in exotic settings,
5 cSuch as Argentina, and Europe, and the Far East, and New England,
6 dInstead of Des Moines and El Paso and Scranton,
7 Because everything seems more subtle and more charged with meaning in some permanently melancholy foreign land,
8 Which frequently results in epiphanies almost automatically,
9 And lets you convey a sense of loneliness and isolation without ever saying a single word about alienation,
10 eWhich is the most important feeling your setting can provide in modern artistic fiction.
11 Besides, you don't actually have to go to these places to write about them,
12 Since it's pretty well understood all over that if you're a serious writer you have to live on some campus in fNew England,
13 Unless you prefer to live in San Francisco or New York instead.
14 Even so, you can still have your characters do exactly the same things they would do in gDes Moines or El Paso or Scranton,
15 hAnd just have them do it in Argentina or New England,
16 iWhich creates a whole bunch of irony automatically,
17 jAnd practically ensures that everyone will recognize how brilliantly you convey the sterility of modern life,
18 And man's inhumanity to man,
19 And the pain and anguish of human existence,
20 kIn a sad, doomed, random world.

1 On the other hand, if you want to write about lDes Moines or Scranton in particular,
2 And actually use the place-names,
3 And put in local color and all that,
4 Then maybe you should consider the second path,
5 mWhich is the path of art for fame's sake.
6 I assure you that this is not a lesser path,
7 nAnd does not deny you the opportunity to earn critical praise,
8 oAnd many attentive admirers from one or more of the sexes,
9 pNot to mention more money,