Monday, January 24, 2011

The art of finding truth in fiction

I recently read somewhere that "acting is the art of finding truth in even the most outlandish lie." Upon reading that, my mind immediately went to fiction. After all, fiction is just a reflection of life told in a more compelling way, right?

Some of you may be asking, how does this apply to horror or urban fantasy? I've been thinking about that too. The characters are a slice of life in a bizarre setting. So being that, some of our characters have the human element (whether they be vampire, werewolf, or space alien), they have some of our flaws as human beings, and the capability to learn or exude human-like emotion. Hell even Vulcan's are not as impervious to emotional thought as they'd like to belief. Using those subtle similarities to life, we must work to find the truth in everything our characters do, thus transforming an imaginary world into something tangible worthy of readers' attention.

What this all boils down to is character and plot. If we are asking readers to suspend their disbelief for hours on end, we must give them something they can relate to--something they can care about.As story-tellers, we must give our characters motives and characteristics, and stay true to those. We must give our plot reasons to move forward that are believable, conflicts that are worthy of our protagonists, and motivation worthy of interesting antagonists. We must also seek the truth in our own words for our worlds. If you don't believe the world you're crafting, than what makes you think readers will?

Just a little food for thought.


Misha said...

Great post.

I completely agree with you on this.

No matter what the genre, creative license should never be stretched so badly that readers have to wonder how anything is possible.

The secret is to get them to assume that the things you hav written is possible. Not to wonder how something happened.


Ashley said...

I agree. I've read books where it was impossible to suspend my disbelief and ultimately get into the story. I think its important to not leave questions about the world your crafting and the only way to do that is to ask the questions as you go and know the explanations.

That being said, just because you know the answer doesn't mean you should infodump it in the story. It just means you should find clever ways to illustrate it throughout.