MasterClass Monday: Umberto Eco Reminds Us That ‘Real Literature Is About Losers’


Today I want to point you toward a short but smartly packed interview with Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum, The Prague Cemetery and others.

I chose this particular article because Umberto makes a very, very good point:

Real literature is about losers.

Think about it – a protagonist who’s always a winner is boring. Even one who wins in the end still needs to lose something dear along the way. Or maybe they’re a lifelong loser who finally takes their fate in their own hands and overcomes those obstacles – it just can’t come easy or your readers will be bored.

Life is struggle. Connect with the struggle and write that life. Make it ugly and raw. Bloody your protagonist’s nose and let them feel like this was all for nothing. Defeat them and wound them and wring them dry.

Then let them figure out how to make it all work in spite of that.

We’re all losers. What makes a good story is figuring out what will wound us when we lose it.



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