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Even though life is random, and things happen just out of the blue in life, it doesn’t happen that way in fiction. Fiction is not random.
In this week’s show, Taylor tackles a question that was posted a couple of weeks ago in Steve’s Author Biz Facebook group. The question came from R.W. Wallace, whose debut novel, THE RED BRICK CELLARS was released earlier this year. (Steve interviewed Ms. Wallace about the book at his CrimeFiction.FM podcast here.)
R.W., who lives in France, asked a question about whether or not a particular scene in a novella she was writing would be offensive to American readers. Most of the responses in the group were positive about the unusual, almost “anti-cliche” nature of the scene and as a group, we didn’t feel the scene would be offensive to American audiences. But Taylor responded to the question in a much different way, dealing with it purely from a story perspective.
While her answer to the question was complete in the group, she takes the time to expand even further on the response in this episode of the podcast, digging into subjects like avoiding randomness in fiction, ways to add depth to even stereotypical characters and the importance of keeping every scene focused on the story.
In our typical pre-show chat, Taylor delivers a funny story about dealing with an auto inspection in Texas. While editing the show, I couldn’t help but wonder how her character, Vanessa Michael Munroe would have handled the situation.
Thanks so much for joining us again this week.
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Hi Taylor and Steve: I think this podcast touched upon the importance of the character’s backstory. Even those of us who plot stories tend to pants characters. This can lead to inconsistencies within stories and lead to big trouble with series characters.
I mentioned the book “Creating Unforgettable Characters” by Linda Seger some time ago. I know Taylor has her own character sheets that she fills out.
It might be interesting to go over that sheet and come up with a character on the fly as the topic for a show.
My first experience with this was walking in on a rehearsal of a play I had written. The actors told the director the histories they had invented for my characters. The director told me that I shouldn’t be listening to them because it might influence my rewrites. I was only there to hand off some publicity copy. I left the theater but snuck around and came back in so that I could hear what the actors had pieced together based on my dialogue. Fascinating stuff.
I think it’s important to discover characters through writing but then flesh them out as they reveal themselves to us.
Hi Bruce – I love your show suggestion – It’s going on the list!