Tag Archives: police

Fleshing Out the Minors in Fiction (a post from the past)

 

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It’s easy to be focused on your main characters and to put your creative energy as a writer into just those characters you adore – the Good Guy and the Bad Guy, mainly – and leave until last (or leave out altogether) the small guys and gals that provide background support.

I’ve read a lot of books over the years and have seen lots of variation. I have seen books where the reader got the full life history of every single character, none of them important to the plot and none of them having anything to do with any of the others, until the plane crash or motorway multiple collision – some big accident, anyway – at the end of the book (the one you were shown a glimpse of at the beginning of the book). Basically, those books seem to be an exercise in writing characters, not plots, and I’m afraid they don’t do much for me.

I’ve also seen my fair share of Main Character in all his/her glory, right down to zits and all their foibles – completely and totally surrounded by 2D nothing characters that might have been made of cardboard.

There is life in between. It doesn’t have to be a giant pain and it doesn’t have to be ignored, either.

You can flesh out a character with a word or two. Flashes of human feeling or an expressive action will do it. Very simple things can do it.

A woman standing at the doorway of her home as she’s informed of an accident is emotive, but the same woman buttering bread when her sister brings the policeman into the kitchen tells you a whole lot more than there’s been an accident.

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Evading the Police – the OTHER reason for writing Sci-fi.

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I’m a perfectionist, I really do want to get things right, particularly the supporting facts and figures of my novels for the simple reason that realism is THE most important foundation you can have – ever – and if it’s not there, unless you are writing a spoof, you’ve lost it as a writer – There has to be truth in there and not just big truths, but little truths as well.

Details count. If you’ve got a cop in your story, for instance, he or she has to speak and act like a cop, and behind that police officer, there have to be real (or at least realistic) laws. Same with soldiers, same with doctors, same with anybody. You cannot walk in their shoes in everything BUT their expertise – it’s their expertise that you need. That means you have to study to some extent and think and speak like they do.

Law enforcement was the issue for me. There are laws against roughing up someone. Laws against murder. Laws against kidnapping and selling people into slavery.

So, Stephen, the team leader sells his latest new recruit (Aleisha, 17) to the two Khekarians in his team because they want a psychic and she’s it. She’s not very good at it, but who cares? It will mean a life of slavery in a savage empire for her, but freedom for Stephen and the rest of his team when those same Khekarians finally go away, not to mention that the sale will put extra money in his pocket.

What a bastard! And what’s not to like? As it turns out, in any other format, there’s plenty not to like. The story is great, but it dies a death if all Aleisha has to do is get to the police station.

I needed to bypass the police. How? Where? I could go back in time, say into the pioneering era, but that rules Australia out. Heck, Australia was established as a penal colony – cops and soldiers all over the place! I’m not sure what would happen in the Wild West, possibly the local Sheriff would form a posse and run the villains out of town. Or string them up.

[Continue reading…]

Evading the Police (the OTHER reason for writing Sci-fi).

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I’m a perfectionist, I really do want to get things right, particularly the supporting facts and figures of my novels for the simple reason that realism is THE most important foundation you can have – ever – and if it’s not there, unless you are writing a spoof, you’ve lost it as a writer – There has to be truth in there and not just big truths, but little truths as well.

Details count. If you’ve got a cop in your story, for instance, he or she has to speak and act like a cop and behind that police officer, there have to be real (or at least realistic) laws. Same with soldiers, same with doctors, same with anybody. You cannot walk in their shoes in everything BUT their expertise – it’s their expertise that you need. That means you have to study to some extent and think and speak like they do.

Law enforcement was the issue for me. There are laws against roughing up someone. Laws against murder. Laws against kidnapping and selling people into slavery.

So, Stephen, the team leader sells his latest new recruit (Aleisha, 17) to the two Khekarians in his team because they want a psychic and she’s it. She’s not very good at it, but who cares? It will mean a life of slavery in a savage empire for her, but freedom for Stephen and the rest of his team when those same Khekarians finally go away, not to mention extra money in his pocket.

What a bastard! And what’s not to like? As it turns out, in any other format, there’s plenty not to like. The story is great, but it dies a death if all Aleisha has to do is get to the police station.

[Continue reading…]