I’ve been struggling with realism. It keeps getting in the way.
I think Becky and I have similar but different views of how much realism is expected. My theory is that if you have a totally goofy, outlandish story the reader expects it to be somewhat unrealistic. The movie, Airplane! comes to mind. How much of that stuff is really likely to happen? Oh my God! Not much.
On the other hand, To Kill a Mockingbird is believable, and if a sign with a bird hanging from it drops from the ceiling during a courtroom scene, it would be totally out of place.
There has to be balance and consistency. In our story we just started writing for the fun of it. On a goofy day, I wrote goofy, on a happy day I wrote happy on a sad day…well, I didn’t write. I didn’t worry about consistency, no one was going to read it anyway, but something changed—all those pages of words were turning into something.
Some of the stuff we wrote happens to people every day, some things could happen, some aren’t likely to happen, and some fall into the “Oh my God!” category.
That “Oh my God!” category is what I enjoy reading and writing. But every page can’t be OMG, there has to be a balance. The more OMG, the less realism. Now, in the rewrite stage we have a chance to make it consistent. Most things fit perfectly, but some don’t. Those things have to be tweaked to fit into a certain range of realism. I’m shooting for the “could happen, but not likely to” range. Becky is in the same range, but closer to the “could happen” side.
Will we get it done? Absolutely! Will the rewrite go smoothly?
Could happen—but not likely.