Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Trouble with Real Life by Diana Flegal

Truth is often stranger than fiction.
I have received countless promising submissions that I end up turning down for this reason; the character encountered a situation, and dealt with it in an unbelievable manner.
When questioning the writer about this part of their story they often tell me, “But it really happened like that!” I have no reason to doubt them. My own personal story holds many such incredible circumstances, but they would not come across as believable by any stretch of the imagination to a reader of fiction.

A writer must be willing to edit out the unbelievable. And for some, that feels like they are being untrue to themselves. But if their personal life experience brought them to a good story, it has served a grand purpose and the writer needs to be content with this.
Cardinal Rule: A good writer must keep their reader in mind.
Remember: ALWAYS keep your reader in mind. And be willing to cut those unbelievable segments of your story out.
Here is a list of articles a Google search supplied on writing believable characters.
Read through a few when you have the time. There will certainly be a nugget or two here that might, when applied, strengthen and enrich your story and characters.    

And be encouraged, Spring is around the corner!


Wendy L. Macdonald said...

Good point, Diana, about editing out the unbelievable in fiction. I've been working on a first draft of a recovery memoir, and there are things in it I could never include in a fiction manuscript because readers would roll their eyes and say, "Really?" And yet those things really did happen. Gotta love the truth in its proper place. :)
Blessings ~ Wendy

Rick Barry said...

Enjoyed your post, Diana. I, too, have enjoyed a few incredible coincidences in life that no one would believe if I included them in a novel. The bottom line for fiction can't be adherence to the details of an actual incident, but adherence to quality story writing. Readers won't care whether a particular moment in a novel actually happened if it taints believability of the overall story. Blessings to you!