Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Word of the day - CONTRIVED

So, I spent this morning before getting on with some other Greyhaus projects working through the piles of submissions sitting on my desk (and around it). As I was writing letters to the authors, the one word that kept coming back again and again was - contrived.

Although I have seen this before, it hit me this morning more than before what it is about many of the stories that get rejected. The story is too artificial an too contrived. In other words, the situation the characters find themselves in and their subsequent relationship is too artificial and simply doesn't come across as being natural.

I understand why many writers compose stories this way. They want there to be action. They want there to be "conflict" with the characters. The problem with this approach, however, is that when that conflict is over, the relationship is done. The conflict is the only thing holding people together.

Now, don't get me wrong. I understand this is fiction and I understand that we like stories with "drama" to them, but when this is the only thing that holds the story together, then I have to say there isn't much to it.

So, why do authors take this approach? I think most of it stems from this desire to come up with something "original". Needless to say, this attempt pushes it to such an extreme that, although the story is original, it is now not real enough.

It is possible to come up with some real situations that aren't extreme. Just look around you, watch the news, read the paper. See what the real people are doing out there and see what you can do with that. Please, though - stay away from Jerry Springer - this is just not the direction to take it.


No comments:

Post a Comment