Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mixing Fiction and Fact - Well Kinda

Have you ever heard of the Great Die Up? What about the Dust Bowl of the Thirties, or the Palm Sunday Tornados? Who doesn't remember Katrina? Here in the south the words Camille or Frederick make people shudder. Tragedies every one. But they don't happen every year. Some years are good, then 'bingo' something terrible occurs. Why? Because 'Mother Nature' is cyclical. Some years are good, some bad. That's a fact.
So why on earth am I mentioning real tragedies, and what have they got to do with writing? Have you ever read a book where the poor protagonist never gets a break. One bad thing leads to another. The poor buy can never get ahead. I think I can guarantee you'll give up on the book and end up feeling depressed. I'm also fairly certain you will never pick up another book by that author.

So on the other side of the coin, what about the book where the hero or heroine doesn't have a problem from the beginning of the book to the end? Bor - r - r - ing.... You wouldn't recommend that author either.

What I trying to point out is that in writing, no matter the genre, we have to be true to some kind of reality, to fact. First we need some good, or maybe start with some bad then have something good happen. Then you'll need more trouble. Why? It make a book exciting. Add a good plot and interesting characters and you have a sellable product. After all, doesn't fiction mirror life?
Allison Knight


Big Mike said...

You're right, there needs to be balance between the highs and lows.

Ref the dust bowl, interesting documentary available on Netflix by Ken Burns. We read about the event in school but nothing smacks you in the face like pictures and videos of the real event, the thousands killed, mostly children, from the dust in their lungs. The utter hopelessness of those hit. They stayed in place for years and years until they'd lost everything. And it wasn't a couple years rather beyond a decade. Affects were even experienced all the way to the east coast. All because man brutalized his environment. But I'm sure we've learned our lesson about mother nature, right?

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Trauma drama is just as boring and repetitious as a sweet nothing romance. Life is balanced and gives us thrills between periods of deprivation.

Maybe our creator, the ultimate editor/director, fashions our lives the same way. We feel appreciation more when we have come off a sad period.

As to the dust bowl, the paintings from the thirties were scattered through our coffee table books when I was growing up. Very dramatic, horribly traumatic -- but great art. Drama makes great art in any discipline.