Why Mathematics Belongs in Fiction (The Intro)

When Science Meets Beauty

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I’m considering this a manifesto of sorts. For a little while now, I’ve been trying to figure out how I could discuss a topic like mathematics on a writing blog without coming out of left field and potentially scaring everyone away.

So here I am coming out of left field and potentially scaring everyone away, but REST ASSURED I’m doing it with a purpose. (I SWEAR). And I’m going to start off the first of what I hope to be many rants by telling a story.

There are two things you need to know about me. One is that I have wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. The other is that I hated math when I was kid. I sat at the kitchen bar for HOURS trying to solve the problems given to me that day. There was a lot of crying. For about half of high school, I needed a math tutor. So after all of the struggling, I decided that I didn’t like math as a subject and I was ecstatic when I completed my math credits in college because I wouldn’t have to bother with it anymore. Looking back, I want to say this made sense. I just wanted to read and write. One field was a creative outlet while the other was filled with a bunch of useless facts that I had to memorize if I wanted to pass a class.

It was logic versus creativity, and I definitely preferred one or the other.

But I think of it differently now that I’ve had to really look into the mechanics of fiction and writing. (I also started writing mathematical fiction as well, but that’s another story). So to me, mathematics carries its own beauty, found in structure, logic, and design. In other words, a type of creativity that hangs out in the background, that you have to dig to find. When you do, the beauty of your discovery comes forward.

It’s like in fiction. You see the story first, but you don’t see the building blocks of it right way. The more you dive into the story, however, the blood, sweat, and tears the author (hopefully) put into making a cohesive storyline appears in a calculated and logical structure. If anything, it only makes the story better once you do see it.

With this in mind, mathematics and fiction share the same beauty. And both fields work together to reflect the world around us.

Both fields deliver a beautiful perspective on the world, in what we see and experience both mentally and physically. Look at the straight line of the ocean’s horizon, or a simple fairy tale going from once upon a time to happily ever after. Look at paintings or drawings at the measurements and angles as they come together (Albrecht Durer’s Melancholia I is one of my favorites), or study Shakespeare’s plays as they unfold on stage. You’ll find a little bit of each one in the other.

I want to argue that, together, mathematics and fiction go beyond just structure. Rather, they both have an innate beauty that enhances the other.

If you look up the concept of mathematical beauty or mathematics in fiction or poetry, you’ll find TONS of resources, some even scholarly. This post is meant to just serve as an introduction, giving some reasons why mathematics and fiction should at least be viewed as equal. There’s plenty more to come.

If you want to learn more about certain story structures and how to write them here are a few resources:

Story Structure: 3 Proven Templates for Timeless Storytelling

https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/story-structure/

Here are also a few resources for mathematics and fiction:

Mathematics in Literature – Sally I. Lipsey and Bernard S. Pasternack (http://math.unipa.it/~grim/SiLipsey.PDF)

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/great-literature-is-surprisingly-arithmetic/

Want to know more? Click the LEARN MORE button at home. You’ll find some helpful links to my work in journals, which I have started posting here too. You can find me in Ariel Chart, The Cedarville Review, Nailpolish Stories, Bluepepper, 50 Word Stories, The Aurora Journal, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, The Drabble, and Anti-heroin Chic. You can also now find me in Sledgehammer Lit!

Need help proofreading a story? You can find me on Fiverr!

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