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Can your fiction be as strange as reality? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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DrG2
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Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby DrG2 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:17 pm

“The trouble with fiction… is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense.” – Aldous Huxley

I always wonder when I have a character do a stupid/risky thing. But I see it all the time in the real world.

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MookyMcD
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Re: Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby MookyMcD » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:48 am

I was camping with an old Basque rancher years ago and a storm broke up just as the sun was going down. We were treated to the most spectacular sunset I have seen. After admiring it for 5 minutes in silence, his appraisal of its beauty was, "That looks just like the way a poop unicorns and rainbows artist who had no clue how to be subtle about it would paint a sunset."

Because we're making it up, we get called on things that can (but almost certainly wouldn't) happen. I had a perfect cribbage hand (odds are around 1 in a quarter million) and a natural royal flush in a poker game (odds of less the 1 in a half million) over a three day period. I could see myself allowing a character to remember when that happened to him as backstory, particularly if he was at the opposite end of the luck spectrum in my story when he looked back on it, but I couldn't bring myself to have those events take place in a novel.

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stray dog
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Re: Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby stray dog » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:27 pm

I think reality is always stranger than fiction...
You can just take the cue from reality...

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Re: Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:14 am

Characters can do anything real people do. Where fiction has to make sense is mostly in the area of coincidence. Real lif eis filled with coincidence, but you have to be extremely careful about using it in fiction.

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Re: Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:02 am


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robjvargas
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Re: Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby robjvargas » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:31 am

Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

It's still under construction, but come take a look.

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xylene
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Re: Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby xylene » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:00 am

My husband actually gave me a good answer to this question a while ago. He's a rabid fan of Breaking Bad ( :roll: ), and he told me the reason why he thinks the series is so good, is that it has the craziest WTF situations, but the circumstances leading up to them are so well-plotted that it's 100% believable.

I haven't seen the show myself, but I suppose the same rule applies to everything. Yes, readers will be more skeptical about strange happenings in novels than in real life, and it is possible to work them in - I only wish I knew how to do it properly myself. Also, it may be a lot more believable if those incidents tend to complicate things for the protagonist.

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Re: Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:01 pm

Readers will believe anything, if the writer does his job. It's all in when, where, why, and how you use something. And I know this, if we can have characters do stupid, risky things, half the novels I've read wouldn't exist.

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Re: Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby robjvargas » Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:27 pm

Slowly putting together a "replacement" forum at http://writerswriting.proboards.com.

It's still under construction, but come take a look.

James A. Ritchie
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Re: Can your fiction be as strange as reality?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:47 pm


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