Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Good Writing Advice

This article about poetic justice and character influences contains some great tips.  These apply to all fiction, and the rest is mostly focused on paranormal romance:

1) "The key the writer needs to grasp is how a character's free will choices combine with the prevailing influence in her life to produce events which, though decades apart in time and place, nevertheless are related poetically."

2) "Literature teachers sometimes demand that a "book review" written by students to prove they read the novel in question should point out how the ending demonstrates poetic justice. Old classic novels all had this element, though it's harder to find in recently published SF Fantasy or Romance."

I'm always looking for those aspects in my own writing.  The first deals with character virtues and flaws, motivations, and setting.  In a good story, there will be humming tension between what a character wants and what they can easily reach.  They should have to navigate a lot of challenges to get what they want.  Choices don't always turn out as planned.  (Another handy rule is, "The first thing a character tries, never works.")  So then, it's interesting when the character pulls one way and the world pulls another.  I set up for that when I'm doing a character build for roleplaying or Torn World, etc. -- and I watch for it when exploring characters I meet through fiction.

I also love poetic justice, although not everyone does and it needn't be in every  story.  But I have an abiding joy in watching villains Come To A Bad End, and I find that especially gratifying when their own bad choices and actions play into what happens to them.  Real life doesn't always come with a sense of justice.  If I wanted to be depressed, I'd watch the news.  I read fiction in part to remind myself of those occasions when the wheel of karma runs over jerks like an express train crushing a grape.  Plenty of people like to indulge in a little literary schadenfreude, so it's a useful thing to include. 
Tags: how to, reading, romance, writing

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