October 31, 2012

The mortal sins of fiction

I purposely committed several sins while writing Xmas Carol. If someone tells me something is a sin, I must commit it. It's my nature.

My idea is to admit these sins here and now. This way, I've done it before the crowd (ha!) arrives here after reading the book. (Right after "The End", I provide a link to this blog. I want to get people's feedback on the book and a blog seemed like a great place to do this.) By the time readers get here, this post will be lost in the archives. They'll never see it. So I can speak freely about my sins at this time.

1. I didn't play the First Sentence Game. Truly, I wanted to begin the book with "It was a dark and stormy night," but it didn't fit in with my opening scene. It had to be a nice day. As a fallback position, I spit in the faces of the First Sentence Police by beginning the book with this sentence: "Maria Kennedy felt lucky." I'm not going to play the FSG.

2. I mentioned this before but I'll list it here as a sin. I didn't say one of the characters was African-American until after we'd met him in other scenes. My idea was that it seems offensive to have to say something about a character's race. He's a person. Only after his personality was well established did I added the info that he's African-American. We'll see how this flies.

3. The biggest sin of all, and one that people may harp on, is that I never described the main female character. I say nothing about Maria Kennedy's appearance. She could have short or long hair, blonde or black. It's up to the reader to decide. The reason I did this is that I'm often irritated by descriptions of characters. I thought they looked a certain way -- and then the author tells me otherwise. I don't like that; they looked better my way. Plus, since I'm gay it was easy for me to make the male characters sexy. But I just don't feel that way about women. So rather than paint this character, I figured I'd let the readers choose their own fantasy. And here's the thing: before publication, I let over ten people read the book and no one noticed. Fun!

For the record, those are my sins and I'm happy to have committed each of them. It will be interesting to see who notices.


cm said...

Write 2 horror novels and one sci fi and your sins will be forgiven my son.

writenow said...

Jesus' wife Edna told me I'm going to heaven. So I have no worries.