Important Points of Fiction
Fiction manuscripts receive feedback that addresses and scores:
· The theme of the book
· Character development and depth
· Plot and story line resolution
· Pace and setting of the story
· The effective use of dialog
· The appropriateness of the tense and point of view
· How compelling the book will be in the marketplace
· Spelling, grammar, punctuation and much more!
The theme or premise of a novel is important because it sets the stage for the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the climax. Is it a story of love, jealousy, ambition, adventure, of triumph or failure? These themes, as well as many others must be considered and decided upon by the fiction writer.
Coming from the design of the tale are the characters and their development. Protagonists and antagonists live because they produce the conflict that gives tension and stress, for without these elements no story exists. Important is a fully rounded character with vices as well as virtues. Protagonists must have qualities that we relate to, but antagonists must also have traits that are decent yet not exceeding their failings.
The conflict between the hero and villain product the storyline or plot-the events that bring to two into discord. This dissension can be physical, mental, social, desire, goal, aspiration, or any feature that they view differently. Some stories are plot driven while others are character driven although all stories have some of each.
Setting is determined by the characters, which may be past, present, or future. Historical novels are situated in the past of a specific locale; contemporary novels deal with the present in time and location; futuristic novels-science fiction and fantasy-deal with the future or locales out of this world.
Now we come to dialogue that must suit the character as well as the setting if it is to be realistic and relate to tie and place. If of the past, it must copy the style, the syntax, and the idiom of the time. Dialogue must always further the story, develop the character, or suit the locale; never can it be to fill in space.
The write must also choose carefully the tense and point of view. Some stories are better told from the present tense while others from the past tense. Using the pluperfect past tense sacrifices immediacy and slows down the rhythm of the language. Another important consideration is the point of view: Sometimes the first person singular is the most appropriate while at other times the third person omniscient is proper. Chose prudently because it can make or break the story.
Another consideration, although a lesser one, is how compelling the piece will be in the marketplace. Since publishers are always concerned about the bottom line, they look to see how the buyers who are the readers will receive it. Perhaps from a publishing point of view, this is the most important criterion for the acceptance or rejection of a manuscript.
To make a manuscript acceptable it must follow the rules of good grammar, be free of spelling and typo errors, written in the language that is acceptable to the target audience. The fiction writer had much to consider with every work undertaken, yet believe in the importance and worth of his or her endeavors.
Charles O. Goulet has a BA in history and a BEd in English literature. He has several historical novels published and that my be obtained at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Barnes and Noble, and many other bookstores.
Charles O. Goulet
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