Synthetic Prophetic is a phrase that I think captures the contemporary fiction writer’s task. Writers are not really prophets, but it’s our job to play at having the answers, depicting worlds and telling tales that illuminate truths. We do our best to cough up sage narratives. Yet, this whole enterprise is a false front. A writing identity. It that sense, it’s all something we synthesize. It’s play.

Writers are world makers, but not the world maker. When we step away from the keyboard, we’re best served by remembering we’re ordinary people. Annnnnd yet, at the keyboard, too much of our real, fallible, humble, flawed, moribund, plain-Jane selves, and our art suffers. Novels and stories (and memoirs and essays) are artworks. Readers need that razzle-dazzle, that authoritative bombast, the boldness of assertions, our best dramatic wisdom.

There’s a bit of a paradox there. Live in it. Synthetic Prophetic.


SP.com is founded by writer Benjamin Obler. Ben writes novels, short stories, essays, and instructional curriculum in English Language Arts, Reading, and Writing instruction. He teaches at Gotham Writer’s Workshop in New York City. Nico Farriella is a contributing writer and editor. Nick is a short story and flash fiction writer who reads for Split Lip journal. Paul Treely is a contributing writer.