Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mixed not Shaken

Most writers have a little different slant on things. What does that mean, well, almost all of us write about issues that are close to our hearts and minds. And we seem to all see things a bit differently.

I wrote a children's book and a reviewer thought it was too violent, because it centered around a tornado hitting a small farm. That's when I realized that I am very much a realist. My German Shepard in one book was too scary for children. Pardon me, how do you make a German Shepard not look a little mean when he's barking? Besides, I didn't draw the illustration, an artist did. So me and the artist were on the same wave-length I guess.

The truth is I use 85% reality issues with 15% fantasy solutions some time. In that the story works out well no matter what. Which in real life it doesn't always happen that way. And that's what makes it fiction.

Fiction is a mixture of reality and fantasy to make a story.

A reader once asked me if I write about real people I know. The answer to that is no. Most characters are a combination of people all rolled into one. A tic here, a mannerism there, and flaw that is obvious, combined with super morals and good character, makes a hero, or a heroine.

I also believe that most people want to believe a story. They need to relate to that story, so realism is important.

In Jodi's Journey I deal with real issues, abortion and cowardice. I put myself in the shoes of the character and I relate to their feelings when I'm writing. If you know your characters well, those feelings will come out on paper. The fantasy about the entire book is how we work things out, because in reality the outcome is not a happy one every time. In a book we can conclude the problem happily. Life isn't that way. So I write with realism and a dash of fantasy.

As a reader you might come to notice this in certain writers, how some might handle one situation, and another might handle the same situation in an entirely different way. It's one way readers chose who they like to read. The only difference is which one the reader enjoys the most. Neither writer is right or wrong, just different.

In Ask No Tomorrows, Sam Tanner knew that helping a white girl in 1870's was not a wise thing to do. He knew he could be hung for being with a white woman, even if it was innocent. He knew what he was doing to help her wasn't very smart, but Sam had character. He was a good guy, and he couldn't not help her. It's part of what made him special. Part of what endears him to the reader. Reality and fantasy mixed makes for an interesting story.

A good book has a mixture of reality and fantasy, all centered around a hero and heroine that have mostly good traits, and an endearing personality. Mix not shaken, a good combination for any fiction book.

Rita Hestand




Amber Skyze said...

Back before Ghost stories were all over the place, I wrote a YA about a ghost girl. Her and her sister were killed in a fire and one moved on the other didn't. It was rejected for being too violent a death.
The fire happened in real life and I lived in the house after it was rebuilt. Strange things happened.
I wonder if it would be more accepted now.

Tina Donahue said...

I prefer a core of realism in novels. Before romances got real, I didn't really read them. I didn't know any heroines who were that timid or guys who were that clueless and arrogant. To me, those plots reeked of what the male publisher 'thought' women wanted to read, not what they actually craved.

I like fantasy in the sex scenes to heat them up, but in the other parts, I want something deep to move me. That's what makes for a great story.

Redameter said...

I love both your comments, so true, and yes Amber I would self publish that story. You would be surprised like Tina said most readers wants realism to some extent. Escaping is escaping life, it's letting it veer to the left of right a little, go for it girl.

I think realism has to be there or you can't relate to the story at all. And yes, we writers have face much opposition from publishers about it too. But readers I think are more comfortable with a dash of both.

Love you guys
Love and blessings

jean hart stewart said...

Interesting blog...and tackling an interracial story at the stime takes guts....good for you..

Fiona McGier said...

Realism is a big part of why I write my heroes the way I do. I have a brother, a dearly-loved husband, and 3 sons whom I adore. Men are not all alpha-holes who order everyone around, and are always seeking someone new to dominate. Some are doing their best to be honest, good men, and they need to be rewarded by being the object of someone's fantasy!

Younger women may crave the arrogant, sexy alpha-guys who rock their world...but when they are ready to settle down, I guarantee a dependable beta-male can be even sexier! Plus you'll know whose bed he'll be in at night!

Redameter said...

Jean and Fiona, you are both right. Yeah, I've always walked on the wild side when it comes to what I write, the more controversary I can find the better.

I really believe you have to have both realism and fantasy in your writing to pull it off and make it good for the reader. Realism can be anything from abortion to helping someone that you know is gonna end up getting you in trouble. Fantasy has no realm, and a lot of happily ever afters are kind of fantasy. But I am a fantasy fan only to a degree, a happy ending is a must, even in my thriller, Better Off Without Her it had a good ending. And the realism was the serial killer himself. Fun writing though.