Glycolalia: An exploration of the nature and function of style and the fictive reality in storytelling

Plan Author

Lucas Wooden, 2018

Fields of Concentration

Sample Courses

  • Course: Why Do We Obey? Social Structure and Normative Systems
  • Course: Writing and the Teaching of Writing
  • Tutorial: David Foster Wallace: The Tutorial
  • Course: Narratology and Narrative Craft

Faculty Sponsors

Outside Evaluator

  • Joanna Howard, Brown University


This Plan is made up of three parts, starting with a piece of creative fiction titled “The Pleasure Principal.” Although this piece describes a film, it is not properly a screenplay. It is not a score for the the performance of a work; rather it constitutes the work itself. This is not to be enacted. It is to be “watched.” The Plan also includes two critical papers titled “Against Encratologue” and “What’s There.” The first is a critique of Wittgenstein’s understanding of expressible meanings, while the latter reflects on the technique of film director David Lynch.


The standard narrative structure (along with all the clichés which have developed within it) became so ubiquitous mainly because it’s so satisfying. Does a reality-affirming narrative structure necessarily have to be un-satisfying? I don’t think so. Satisfaction is not alien to reality. (I sometimes find myself satisfied in my real life.) But rather than a single, ultimate satisfaction, a reality affirming narrate e must focus on multiple, periodic, internal satisfactions: satisfactions which arise, not from a conclusive resolution of tension, but from continual fluctuations.

When Eraserhead came out in 1977 could anyone have guessed that over the next forty years David Lynch’s work would get progressively weirder? Anyway, it has. The latter half of his filmography, barring The Straight Story, is completely bonkers. Films that work in direct opposition to all the tenets of conventional storytelling: unruly, labile worlds, totally non-mimetic; characters that don’t pretend to be human beings; causal progression that is nonlinear and incomplete, which moves more by association than by chance or necessity, and which bifurcates and loops back on itself.


I don’t remember anything from working on my Plan; I just woke up from a year-long fugue state and it was all printed out on the desk in front of me and I took it to the registrar. I want to write long-form narrative works; Plan has given me a super low-stakes opportunity to try that out, hone my craft, etcetera.