I’m taking a break from the editing of my crappy novel and trying to get some perspective. Actually, I need to print out a copy of my crappy novel and have balked at using most of a ream of paper and who knows how much ink to do it. I used to print stuff at work but they have recently began frowning on that sort of behavior (meaning, they said stop doing it) so it's up to me. I checked out some print services and see that it'd cost me like $30 bucks to do it in town. Yikes. I sure as hell won't be doing that. So, I figure I'll suck it up and waste all my precious resources to print out my masterpiece at the house. It would probably be cheaper to just use Lulu and have them send it to me... at least then I could have a really cool looking cover or something.
So, while I'm dragging my feet I've been reading a great book of local history that has included stories of bodies buried inside buildings, shootouts involving the local business elite, of a local ice cream parlor that decided to serve oysters, and my personal favorite, the story of a guy who decided to build a street car line in the city without any permits or permission. When the cops showed up to stop the 300 strong labor force he’d hired a riot ensued which ended in with dead and injured men, and a standoff between city police and county deputies all trying to arrest each other. The guy who caused that ruckus ended up marrying Woodrow Wilson’s daughter and became Secretary of Treasury. But for a short time he sat in a small jail in Knoxville Tennessee for causing all that chaos. Great stuff. What irks me about all this is how ridiculously random all the events in the book seem to be, which I keep having to remind myself is just how real life is. So many of the real events that surround us are so implausible that if they were too happen in a book or movie then folks would quit reading or watching due to the stupidity of the plot. But then again, assuming we live in a world with around 6 billion people then those million to one occurrences must happen around 6000 times a day. Which of course means really implausible things happen all the time. I’ve received loads of advice on the topic before and the bottom line is - my character’s actions and circumstances must be much more logical than real life. Which really doesn’t make much sense considering that most writers are writing about unlikely things anyway. But then again, if my bad guy is walking his dog at night and gets ran over by a drunk driver and dies, I think a reader would feel cheated. Random stuff happens in real life, not in fiction. So if you want to read some really weird stuff, like the life of Tycho Brahe, then go read a history book. But make that guy the protagonist in your story and it’d be so weird that folks just wouldn’t be able to relate. If I wrote a story about a guy with a copper nose, who’s favorite pet elk was an alcoholic (that perished at a party after getting wasted and falling down the stairs) and that he died from either from poisoning, or from fear of urinating, then I think I’d have a sure fire rejection slip in my hand from every would be publisher in the world. It reminds me of those Sherlock Holmes vs T-Rex type movies that show up on the SyFY channel all the time now. A mishmash of ridiculous scenes that don’t really tell a story.
So, it's all a big lesson to me, I want to give the illusion of reality when I write, not actual reality. The real world is just too damn weird.