Want to know more about books by Barbara V Evers, giraffe conservation and wildlife news, great books, as well as snippets from an author's life? This is the place for you!
Don't want to miss any posts or updates on Barbara's upcoming books and appearances? Subscribe to the Watcher Tribe newsletter! The link is available to the left side of your screen.
Reality vs Fiction: Writing To Genre
Courtesy of MorgueFile.com
“Hi,” Jane said.
“Hi. How are you?” John
“I’m fine.How are you?”
“Not bad.What’s new?”
Bleah! Not very interesting is it?
Writing fiction presents a confusing challenge to
writers:what’s the line between
realistic narrative and fiction?
The answer depends on the genre of your story, but the
general rule is if it doesn’t move the plot along, scratch it.
Do we have conversations like the one above?Yes.Several times a day.But it’s boring to read.We don’t care about this.Readers want to read something that grabs
them and puts them in the story.Rather
than take the time to include these introductory phrases, use the time to set the scene.With a good setting, readers will feel
present and assume the typical banal greetings have already occurred.
The same goes for this interchange:
“Is this the one you need, Mrs. Smith?”
“Oh please, call me Jane.”
Granted you might find a reason to include this in your story,
but make sure you have a very good reason.Otherwise, let your characters use first names if that’s where they are
Sounds simple, but this line becomes hazy as you write. You need to know what your genre expects.
I read a diverse list of genres, but my go-to
preference is fantasy.In urban fantasy,
the pace flies.The protagonist moves
from one conflict to the next with no more than a breath sometimes. It’s unreal
and impossible to imagine.It’s not
grounded in reality.Urban fantasy
abounds with supernatural characters. Readers expect this fast pace and
non-stop action.The story must clip
Epic fantasy, on the other hand, allows you to move at a
somewhat slower pace.It requires a lot
of world-building, and it can’t be written like a history lesson. World-building
must occur throughout the story, dropped in at times that make sense without
intruding on the reader’s experience. This takes time. But don’t forget, action
must occur to move the story forward.
Like urban fantasy, mysteries or thrillers move at a quick
pace.A criminal, usually a murderer, threatens people's safety.Something must be done
to locate and stop them.The
fast pace ramps up the tension. But let’s face it.How often does your average person run across
a dead body or crime within their social circle?Not too often, but readers come back for the
protagonist each time.So, we accept the
improbability of a non-law-enforcement individual tripping over these crime scenes,
but we expect it to fit the norm of the genre beyond that.
The fine line exists.To find it, go back to the books you love in your genre.What fits with reality?What doesn’t?Your answers will guide you to a better story. Then share your answers here.
For those of you looking for my post on National Buy A Book Day, scroll down below this post (after you read it). In this post, I'm responding to the first challenge in the Platform Building Campaign. Here are the guidelines followed by my story: Write a short story/ flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count) Absence The door swung open, creaking on unused hinges. Rachel leaned forward and studied the man slumped in the chair across the room. “Sam?” Her voice croaked. She swallowed and tried again, a little louder. “Sam?” The balding, elderly man jerked awake, snorting. She giggled at the memory of the sound. H
In my last post, Character Development: the Johari Window , I introduced the Johari Window as a tool for developing your characters. It's important that your character not know everything about their situation. These unknowns can lead to an intriguing story and create possibilities for conflict within the story. How do you use the Johari Window? In this post, I thought I'd provide a simple example of the Johari Window with a character most people know: Harry Potter. Below, I have filled out the Johari Window as it might appear within the first few pages of book 1, Harry Potter and The Sorceror's Stone . The Johari Window based on Harry Potter and The Sorceror's Stone Three of the quadrants in this window reveal what Harry doesn't know about who he truly is and what happened to his parents. I could add a lot to the quadrants representing what he doesn't know, but I hope this gives you an idea on how a Johari Window might be used. What do you d
Last week’s post celebrated several conflicting interpretations of a flash fiction piece I wrote. Unfortunately, we rarely experience miscommunication issues with joy. When I speak, I want synchronicity of understanding with my audience. Is that hard to achieve? Yep! An incorrect interpretation creates a miasma that fills in the lacuna in our words. Did you understand that sentence? You might try to interpret what I meant through context, or maybe your mouth oscitated in shock, while you thought, “Barbara's talking about communication issues, and she tosses difficult words in the mix?” A simpler version of my sentence above might be: An incorrect interpretation creates a stinky mess that fills in the gaps in our words. (FYI, oscitated means gaped .) Simpler words increase the chance you’ll mirror my meaning, but they don’t guarantee it. We bring our own experiences to the conversation, throwing everything off because the significance of a word for me is different