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Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Author Insight: Believability

What is the most important thing for you to “get right” in order to make your story believable?

"I think you have to get everything right. But for me, the most important things to get right are voice and creating a well-developed universe. I can forgive almost anything if the character's voice speaks to me, and I find myself completely immersed in a compelling universe. That said, obviously, character development and plot are also incredibly important. A story isn't a story if nothing happens. The story should have an arc, and the individual characters should each have personal arcs, as well." - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"Atmosphere. Atmosphere is HUGELY important to me. And it goes hand in hand with voice when writing 1st person. I need the flow of the words, the mood they evoke, the main character's voice, all to FEEL right." - Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch.

"I think it’s important to develop strong characters so the readers can truly appreciate why they do the things they do. Without that, it’s hard for a reader to connect with the story." - Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder. 

"The voice." - Rhonda Hayter, author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams.

"Character's voice." - Swati Avashti, author of Split.

"Character interactions. If a conversation between my characters feels off, it ruins the whole scene for me. It doesn't matter how many other details I got right or how real the world feels. If character interactions feel phony or forced, then I don't buy any of it." - Chelsea Campbell, author of The Rise of Renegade X.

"Part of the challenge of writing Tell Me A Secret was weaving three different timelines – the distant past domain of the older sister; the recent past relationship with Kamran and friendship strife; and the present, where everything collides. Making all of that work in a seamless, logical, compelling way was one of the biggest hurdles, and also probably one of the most important ones to get right." - Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me A Secret.


"Character evolution is the most important thing in a story. Not all characters change (some real people never do and characters are reflections of humanity) but there should be a logic to their choices based on their background." - Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale.

"The dialogue, the inner and external conflict, they all have to flow from the characters. You know those characters that live in my head? Well I live in theirs too. I spend so much time in there that, sometimes, I forget who I am. (Yes, still crazy.) But it needs to feel authentic, and if it’s coming from me, it doesn’t." - Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons.

"Motivations, behavior. You can have people flying on bears and speaking a gibberish dialect, so long as their actions and manner of interacting with one another feel true. Fiction is a mirror; people read in order to see themselves more clearly. That is very important." - Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall.

"I tend to have difficulty with emotional distance, so I really have to work on the emotional texture of the piece, letting the reader just far enough inside the characters’ heads, etc. I have to slow down and let what is obvious to me also be obvious to the reader. Connecting the dots is usually what I spend the most time doing in revision." - Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

"The main character's voice and worldview." - Leah Cypess, author of Mistwood.

"The emotional truth of the story. I had a woman who lost her mom at a young age tell me that I’d gotten that aspect of Laurel just right. That meant so much to me!" - Amy Brecount White, author of Forget-Her-Nots.

"Sometimes I have a habit of trying to add plot points that don't quite fit with my characters just to keep the story interesting. I often have to backtrack and reevaluate these moments. When all the characters are acting like themselves throughout the whole book, then it feels to me like the stars are aligned." - Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith.

"I'm going to give a broad, nonspecific answer that's going to seem like a cop-out, but I swear it's not. Characters. If you get your characters right, they can do anything--ANYTHING--and no one will blink. If your characters aren't right, they could run down to the store because they ran out of milk, and someone would find it unrealistic." - Brenna Yovanoff, author of The Replacement.

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have for aspiring writers!
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