On the difference between reality and fiction

Jessica is my biggest fan, and she thinks it is very wonderful when I write a book, and even more so when it gets published, and not just because I take her out to dinner to celebrate.

But she cannot understand why I am so mean to my characters.


She thinks that the best story is the one in which everyone gets along and hugs each other and they all hang out together and have conversations about the things they love, and it’s even better if they take a few minutes to say some nice things about each other and if there is some Diet Coke in the refrigerator, that is especially desirable, and also if someone remembers to bring her some princess stickers, then that is perfect. But really all that is needed is some people who are kind.

I tell her that such a situation is lacking in dramatic tension, and that conflict drives narrative, and that in a story such a situation might be the happily ever after, just before the end, but it is quite hard to get there, and many challenges and obstacles must be overcome first.

“I see,” she says. “And that is how fiction is different from real life.”


Dojo Wisdom for Writers, second edition, now available on Amazon in print and ebook! (Nook and other ebook versions here)
Catch a Falling Star (by Jessica Starre) and The Matchmaker Meets Her Match (by Jenny Jacobs), two of my favorite novels.

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