Where does reality stop & fiction begin?

Writing is time consuming. First you must get your idea down. Next read through it as many times as possible, while checking to see that the story which you had in your head is actually on your screen/ notebook/ page etc. It’s surprising how much we leave out when getting the first draft down. In our excitement to finish our story we don’t develop our ideas enough.

Once we have developed the idea enough it begins to take on a life of its own. At this point, we’re only half way there if we’re lucky. Next we need to check facts. ‘Ah,’ I hear you cry, but I’m only writing fiction. That maybe so, but you’re be surprised by how many people will say, ‘Ah, but that would never happen!’

Where does reality stop, and fiction begin? My feeling is there’s a fine line. In reality, Miss Marple would never have solved crimes on the behalf of the police. Of course we have to keep a sense of realism to our stories, the feeling that anything is possible. Watch any horror movie and we all know in reality, we wouldn’t open the door. Or step through the mirror. If all your friends had been murdered, you wouldn’t hang around waiting for the police to turn up. If your phone had died , or your car stalled when an UFO appeared in the night sky, you just know you’re in deep sh*t. Your first reaction would be to get the hell out of there, but if all your characters were to play-it-safe, you would have no storyline.

When writing we have to set aside our built in self-preservation and step into a world without health and safety rules. We have to ask the ‘what if’ questions and set our characters off on a path of self-destruction. Are we playing God, or the devil?

Playing god or the devil

Yes, of course we are. It’s what our readers want, and so do we. We want to find out what happens next. It is while we the writer races ahead with the story as it flows freely, we don’t have time to check for typos, grammar, and consistency with the plot etc. When it comes to the editing we need to step back and take our time.

The ‘What if ‘ question may take our characters on a journey of discovery, but if our editing isn’t done with care we can leave our readers confused, and our story untold. This is the point I’ve reached with my writing. Am I missing something important? What can’t I see?

I think carefully about my plots, characters etc. There are many questions I asked myself as I’m writing. I’m sure I’ve answered these questions in my story telling. Maybe I need to make notes of the questions to see if I’ve answered them when it comes to the editing stage.

I’ve just finished the 2nd round of edits on my single collection of short stories, and I’m feeling nervous. Have I done enough? Have I focused on the important things. Well, I shall have to see what the editor thinks when the collection comes back for the last time.

For now, I shall be creating one of two new stories before I return to editing my vampire novel.

Have a great weekend,

Paula R. C.

Take your time and read through as many times as possible

8 comments

  1. I love the cartoon too! Been there, done that! Paula, you are doing the most important thing in order to see if your second round of edits have been sufficient–leaving it for a while and delving into something else. The number of times that I’ve benefitted from doing something else for a while and then coming back with the gift of fresh eyes is legion! Even though your work is perfect, you might see–just perhaps–one or two minor things to improve. I wish you continued happiness and productivity as you enjoy your writing weekend, and look forward to your next post!

  2. You’re most welcome, my dear friend! Writing is indeed time consuming, but yet we can’t get enough of it and wish we had time for more–which is why we continue to boldly go beyond our comfort zones into brave, new literary frontiers! My boldly going this year consists of working on my second Joy of Teaching! book, and working on chapter outlines for my very first novel (which is a terrifying, exciting journey, but one I must undertake never-the-less). I wish you well on your continued comfort zone explorations as well! TTYS!

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