Daily Archives: September 1, 2006

Good and Bad Fiction is Noticeable

from Samuel J Alibrando
The older I get, the shorter weeks get. How’d it get to be Friday so fast? With the long weekend, next Friday will get here even quicker.
Like Aaron, I am reading fiction with a learning posture more than just pleasure. I am paying particular attention to what gives me pleasure. As a matter of fact, I am paying closer attention to movies in the same way.
As a non-fiction writer, I could go on about why I like non-fiction. However, my eye is on fiction and for me it feels uphill. For any who may view this blog I am certainly more like you than my fellow authors in that I am viewing fiction as a student.
Frankly, I believe all four of us authors on this blog feel like students. Any person in any field is in some kind of trouble when they decide it is time to stop learning.

I feel myself leaning toward a form of writing similar to science fiction. I am seeing more risks in that realm of writing. Today I watched a science fiction DVD and I observed a flaw in me through this movie. Since I have so many ideas and a message, the characters tend to be mere obstacles for me to “overcome” to tell my story. I noticed in the movie so many interesting statements and ideas; Gadgets, futuristic changes in society, advanced methods of cosmetics and dozens of things that were interesting but had nothing to do with the story line. It is NOT more entertaining to cram more and more interesting stuff into a story unless it adds to that story line. It must enhance a mood or a relationship or emotions. It cannot just independently be “interesting”. Science fiction has kind of given itself license to flaunt ideas and inventions. Although these things intrigue me and science fiction sort of embraces that, there is good and bad science fiction.
At the end of the movie, the main character made some comments that suddenly made me aware the writer wanted to relay a message to humanity. It was corny because it was too obvious. It was also lousy [in my humble opinion] because the story itself did NOT convey the message. Since the story failed to deliver the message, the writer had to have a character verbally tell the message. In fiction, the famous “Show, don’t tell” is good advice and any speech necessary to compensate for important missing parts is practically an admission of failure for a fiction writer.

I will admit, if any book of mine was made into a movie I would be proud but here was this movie showing me so many risks in fiction writing to avoid.
Still, I feel like someone in the peanut gallery with all my observations, cheering and booing. I must tell you though, I feel good about noticing these things. I feel instructed. I truly believe a person with a strong desire to do anything becomes a student of the craft through whatever can instruct him.
Simply because I have this new mindset of wanting to write good fiction, everything around me is stepping up to give me tips. Relationships I see. Things that are funny. Things that are rewarding to me personally. Things that connect. It is a little exciting for me to feel my brain working in this new area in an unfamiliar way.

Well, everyone, have a great holiday weekend.


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