Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How Close to Reality Should You Get in Fiction?

This author writes about real life, so I say it’s okay to make your situations real, and your characters act like genuine people. All right, so our characters have to be heroic, there are people in this world who are courageous when they are placed in certain positions.

Your neighbor could be a hero/heroine if he/she pulls you or a child from a burning house. What if he/she calls the police after seeing someone breaking into your house, and he/she thinks there’s a need to do more and they run to your house with a gun or a ball bat or something to help fight off the robbers. Is that a hero/heroine, or is that a stupid move on their part?

That depends entirely on the end results. Does the hero/heroine drive off the bad guys, or does he/she get shot trying to help. To get shot would be dumb and not very heroic, so in that case it would’ve been better to wait at the curb for the cops and still be a hero. If the character is able to drive off the invaders, he/she is a hero/heroine again. It all depends on how the person handles the circumstances.

Being a writer, I am going to make my characters a bit larger than life, so in this instance they will have the knowledge to handle a situation of this type. I may have it built into their background that they are able to act the way we want them to. Because of these skills there are people in the real world who are actually like these make-believe heroes.

To make a story that your readers won’t find fault with, your research into the skills you give your characters should be accurate and as realistic as you can make them. Then again, your character could just have the natural instincts to survive. In this case, you have to get into this person’s head and know what he’s thinking as he acts to make him real.

Thank you for reading my post, and I hope I was able to help other writers in some small way.

Best always,



Sandi S. said...

Nice post.

I think most people don't know what kind of heroics they're capable of until they encounter a situation. Could you kill a person if you or someone you loved were threatened? It's easy to say no automatically, but we never know what will happen until that fate intercepts us :-) Heroes are made everyday and in every way. That's one of the reasons I love writing. :-)

Happy writing!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Sandy.

Sandi made some very valid points in her comment.

Heroes and heroines come in every shape and size. Some only need to do small things that have huge impacts on those around them. That's what makes writing about them so much fun. There are such a large variety of heroes and heroines in the world.


J Hali said...

Great post, Sandy. Thank goodness for 'real' heroes who inspire us all.

Carol Ericson said...

There are so many heroes in real life! I think one of the biggest examples of heroism recently took place on United Flt. 92 on 9/11. Those people who boarded the plane that day thought they were in for a five-hour flight of reading, watching a movie, or working. Little did they know they'd be called upon for an heroic deed - and they rose to the occasion. Nothing more heroic than to sacrifice your life for a greater good.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Great post, Sandy. :-) And Carol, how very true. I can't even imagine being in such a situation, let alone having to make that ultimate sacrifice.

Sandy said...


You're so right that people don't know what they will do in a certain situation. I was in a bad spot one time, and I froze and didn't do what I always thought I would do.

Thanks for your comment.

Sandy said...


Some of the bravest people in this world are the ones who struggle through this life.

Thanks for coming by.

Sandy said...

You're so right, Joanne.

Thanks for your comment.

Sandy said...


You're so right. The people on flt. 92 were indeed brave and heroic.

Thank you for the reminder.

Sandy said...

Thanks for stopping by Donna.

I have no idea what I would do in the situation that the people on Flt. 92 found themselves in. Probably, just go along with the majority. I imagine some weren't feeling very brave.

Chiron said...

Hi Sandy!

I especially liked how you noted that it's good to build into our characters a capacity to respond heroically. Very important!

Thanks for a great post!


Kris Kennedy said...

You know, for me, an action would be considered 'heroic' based on the sacrifice involved, not whether it was successful or not.

But definitely there's the 'don't be stupid' factor.

If no one was home at my house, and my neighbor went in to confront a burgler, that'd be dumb.

If my child was in there, heroic.


Linda LaRoque said...

Great post, Sandy. As to heroic deeds, I agree that no one knows what they're capable of until faced with a dangerous situation.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Chiron. I'm glad you like the building of the character.


Sandy said...

Hey, Kris, thanks for the comment. You've got the right idea.

Sandy said...

Hey, Kris, thanks for the comment. You've got the right idea.

Sandy said...

That's for sure, Linda.

Thanks for the comment.


Celia Yeary said...

SANDY--very nice. We're surrounded by everyday heroes, in my opinion, people who don't get credit for the wonderful, out-of-the-norm acts they perform. You wrote a very good piece. Celia

Sandy said...

Thank you, Celia.

I agree with your opinion about people not getting credit for the things that they do. But I believe they don't do it for the recognition.