Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Question From A Writer - What are "REAL" Stories and "REAL" Characters

In your submissions info on the Greyhaus site, you put a lot of emphasis on "real" stories and "real" characters. Can you give some examples from already published work that fits your standards for "real?" Who are some authors you would recommend for someone wanting to get a better feel for "real" stories?

This is so true. I do overly stress the idea of real characters and real situations. Let me explain the rationale why before I dive into the issue of "what" I mean.

For readers to really get sucked into a story, especially a romance and relationship story, they need to find something in it that connects with them. This stems from some basic elements of "Reader Response" theory in literary criticism. In other words, the reader makes the meaning of the story with the strong connection to the characters and story. If the story is too far removed from a reality the reader can understand, then there is no connection.

When I argue for the element of reality, I am talking about situations and people that truthfully would exist in the real world (and not on the Jerry Springer show). Look, while we might enjoy watching reality TV shows, we have to admit that these are not real people in real situations. These are elements used to create "drama". What I am looking for are those situations that are not "over-the-top".

Too often, I see stories that are so extreme the story becomes forced. Characters that would never get together are forced together for drama. Plot elements are added to a story to add drama but in reality, would not likely happen. We're talking possibility vs. probability here.

Hope that helps!


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