Real people, revisited

Sure I know the difference. Real people are real, fictional characters are fiction. But. My wife and I were on a walk the other day, and I told her about some trouble I was having with revisions on my new novel. Lots of characters, multiple plots tied together by very little but family relationships. So I’m developing characters and relationships as the plot progresses. It’s complicated because I want it all to feel very real. So back to our walk. My comment to my wife was something like, “I have to remember that these are real people reacting to events that just took place.” Then we had a discussion about real people. Who is, who isn’t? That was interesting, but the problem that led to this was a bit different.

I’m pretty good at writing scenes. Yes, I’m bragging. But I have a tendency to view scenes in isolation, which means I don’t always consider what happened in the scenes that came earlier. Part of this is the way I write, which is not always linear, and part of it is simply a failure of story telling. One thing leads to another. It’s cause and effect. But weirdly, it’s not so much the effect I was overlooking as the affect. In other words, how would the plot affect the characters. That’s the root of my problem, the trigger for my conversation with my wife, and a reminder that these are real characters, and they’re not going to forget what happened five minutes ago.

Copyright 2016 by Philip Tate