Thursday, February 13, 2020

Would Your Story Work In Real Life?

I get we write fiction and yes, we know that fiction writing is "not true" According to Oxford, fiction is described as...

literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

But, with that said, the stories still need to be realistic. This is, unfortunately, something that far too many authors fail to pay attention to as they write their stories. Authors get so hung up on creating great conflicts for their characters they miss thinking about the reality of the situation. This would simply not happen in the real world!

We can see this in a lot of different ways including the characters, relationships and certainly scenarios that happen in the plots. Let's look at each of these.

Your characters have to act and behave like real people. It is as simple as that. They should react to situations in the same way that everyday people would react. If someone gets hurt, do everyday people immediately go rogue, grab guns and take off to kill people? Probably not. Would priests give up everything they pledged when they entered the clergy to do something unethical? Probably not.

This is even more important when we are talking about the romance genre. The words they say should truly sound like someone in that situation. How they look at the other person should also be 100% real. Yes, you might find someone attractive, but truthfully, is someone really going to dive into a full blown relationship just after seeing how someone looks? Probably not.

I really struggle with this one in a lot of submissions. Authors, in an attempt to create a great story will often put people into a relationship that would never happen. I am reminded of a submission I had several years ago where someone who is coming from a VERY privileged, elite lifestyle would see a homeless person on the street and think this is a person they would have a relationship with. Sure, we would like to see something like that happen, but the odds are, these people would NEVER be in the same room with each other.

This one has a lot of connections to the characters and the relationships as well so you may see some overlap here. I am going to just list a few of these and I think you will get the idea.
  • A heroine running from a rapist thinking that having a sexual relationship with the hero at that moment is a good idea.
  • A cop deciding to have a romantic relationship with the person who they think is a suspect in the case
  • A character deciding to give up a successful career and start a business he or she knows nothing about
  • Characters deciding to run INTO the danger and not away from it
I spent some time with one of my authors recently plotting her next book. She had made a lot of these same mistakes. We had to go back and really "fact check" if the characters would really do that, or if the scenario is even possible.

I don't care if you think that sounds like a great scene, please take the time ALWAYS to see if it is really something that would happen in real life. You will be pleasantly surprised!

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