Art Is Not A Formula


Electric Literature’s Lincoln Michel writes a rebuttal to a recent Atlantic article “All Stories Are The Same,” which attempts to reduce stories to basic formulas. Michel argues:

These self-congratulatory attempts to reduce art to formula rarely tell us anything useful about stories. These formulas don’t tell us how stories function or how different narratives affect readers. They don’t tell us how great stories were written or what meanings the works can produce. Instead, these essentialist structures are parlor tricks that exploit the need for all mysteries to have simple explanations. But what the critic is invariably doing is generalizing to the point of nonsense.

Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →