Monday, September 5, 2011

Motivational Monday Quote


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FICTION AND REALITY?
FICTION HAS TO MAKE SENSE.
(Tom Clancy)

This is something I struggle with in my own writing. I've had my work - novel manuscripts - critiqued by professionals and one of the things the majority of them say, independently of each other, is why. "Why would she do that?" "I don't understand why he did that." "Why would someone react that way?" 

To me, it usually makes perfect sense why my characters do what they do but when I step back, out of my world and into the real one, and I look at the story, the characters, the motivation, the stakes with a more objective eye, I see what they're saying. 

It doesn't mean things can't happen randomly - they do in real life, all the time - but the actions we take, the decisions our characters make have to be true to the circumstances and to the person. I've read books where the characters do some weird things and make some odd choices  - things I probably wouldn't do - but I keep reading because it all makes sense in the story.

Let's get real with our writing today.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey...Things look a little different around here -- and good. =] Even if we're not writing SF, we're still "world-building" in our fiction, and characters must be true to themselves, just as the "rules" in SF must make sense within the confines of whatever new reality is created.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Milo! (I was afraid the new blog look was going to be one of the scenarios where people say, "Oh, you got a haircut..." but they don't say they LIKE the haircut.) :)

You're right about how ALL fiction writers have to "world-build."

Sylvia said...

I love the quote. I know from the beta-reading I've done, it makes a lot of sense. As a reader, you are following the story, and to do that, you have to know why. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Allie. It's funny to me how I was able to see it in other stories/books, but not my own. Now, I'm much more aware... It doesn't mean I always catch it, but at least I'm looking. :)

Anonymous said...

Madeline that's what counts. You are looking and I agree that there needs to be realism in the story :)

Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Madeline,
Great advice. And I love the Tom Clancy quote.
donna v.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Christy, isn't it funny how no matter what kind of fiction, it still has to be real? I learn something new every day. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Hey, Donna - my husband read all of Clancy's old books so he got a kick out of this quote, too. :)

Ellie Garratt said...

Excellent quote and post. EVERYTHING in our fiction must make sense or the reader will scratch their heads and lose the will to carry on writing.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Ellie! It's funny because I bet when most people think of fiction, they don't think of reality and of things making sense.