Reality vs. Fiction, According to Tom Clancy

tom Clancy Fiction Reality Quote

Today, April 12th, is the birth anniversary of Tom Clancy.

Tom Clancy was once a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history.

Then he wrote The Hunt for Red October, which catapulted onto the New York Times bestseller list after President Reagan pronounced it “the perfect yarn”. Clancy was known for  weaving realism and intricate plotting into can’t-put-it-down suspense novels.

I can readily recall more than a few real-life situations that I’ve transferred to the page, only to find that they were unbelievable.  How can that be? It makes no sense that actual events or conversations don’t translate to fiction. Sense or not, the reality is that reality sometimes bends or tests or even shatters the suspended disbelief of our readers.  Why is that?

Have you ever written real life situations that were just too unbelievable to be included in your work?

Perhaps the entertaining conversation you overheard on the train doesn’t fit into your story. Or maybe your character wouldn’t be caught dead doing that crazy thing you saw the tourist do at the national park. It could be that what you observed was so jarring that it yanks your readers right out of the story.  Speaking of story, did that real-life tidbit actually further your plot or develop a character?  Did it serve a purpose?

The possibility exists that, sometimes, truth actually is stranger than fiction, and should be left alone. 

For now.

Keep it in your idea arsenal for another time.  You never know when your fiction could use that dose of actual real-life.

Photo taken by Gary Wayne Gilbert, 20 Nov 1989 at Burns Library, Boston College and is used under Creative Commons License.

Review – Twins of Orion – The Book of Keys

Review – Twins of Orion – The Book of Keys

 

Twins of Orion: The Book of Keys (Twins of Orion #1)J. Rose brings an engaging story of the reunion and adventures of twins separated and then reunited at the age of thirteen. The author creates beautiful worlds and a plot with multiple twists that keeps the reader wanting more. Realistic teens without cliche or preachiness appeal to readers of all ages. Plus the bad guys were really bad and the fight scenes were cool. Closure at the end, but I definitely want to find out what happens next. Yes, this is a don’t-wanna-put-it-down book – please hurry with the next installment, J. Rose! Here’s the Amazon link, in case you’d like to see for yourself :Twins of Orion: The Book of Keys (Volume 1).

 

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At Least I’ve Got the Page Numbers Done


“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” ~ Stephen Wright


Then…

I suppose I should begin with the times when it was easy.  When I was a student, an intern, a researcher, a scientist, an engineer, those were the easy days.  I wrote textbooks and technical papers, manuals and government reports.  I wrote Really Hard Stuff, except that is wasn’t that hard.  That writing came with the job, and the priority was the data, the process, the procedure, the specifications.  I got published.  My work is still in use, decades later, around the world.  I made a few bucks.

Early on, when I was part of a team, I knew I’d be expected to get our results documented.  Nobody else wanted to do it, after all. Except, here’s thing…  Whatever you’ve got in your head is amazing and profound and life-changing only to yourself until you share it with others.  Not just share, but share in a way that can be understood and put into practice.  I never got why others hated writing.  I loved distilling a whole mess of technical into something organized and understandable.  Useful.charles bukowski quote about writers block

And I Got Paid…

Later, I did more solo projects.  First I’d justify the cost.  Then I’d do the researching and the calculating, the experimenting and the graphing, the justifying and the concluding. I’d get to document the whole messy thing.  I’d distill piles of sticky notes, mounds of data and journals and scribbles into something useful.  And people would read what I wrote and use it and make a difference.  I taught people.  I shared new discoveries.  I developed and documented procedures that saved corporations more money than I’ll earn in a lifetime.  I showed workers how to do dangerous things without killing themselves or anyone else.  I revealed the secrets that engineers needed so they could teach to those whose brains work more traditionally.  I translated government mandated policies into real-world application.  And I enjoyed every last minute of it.

And I got published.   And I got paid.

Then I took a break, set my sights on different priorities.  And now I’m back.

Now…

And I want to make stories.  I’d like to change people’s lives just a teensy bit, one chapter at a time. I hope to create something compelling enough that it provides entertainment and escape and maybe even a life lesson or two. That’d be perfect.  I’d settle for even one of the above.

And I am Stuck.

I see too much expanse of blank whiteness, sitting silently and expectantly, mocking me for my inability to string together a few coherent words.  Oh, I want to silence that accusing blankness with some genius keystrokes or the scritchtey scribing.  The inability to string together a coherent paragraph always takes hold at the worst possible time. No, not when I’m facing a deadline.  The absolute most  inconvenient time to have trouble composing is those occasions, oh so few and far between, when I have uninterrupted time to dedicate solely to my craft.  Most unfair!

Okay, so today I got nothing done on my novel.  But I thumbed my nose at The Block and got a blog post put together. Perhaps this will be the introduction to my  future series on how to overcome The Block.  Ideas a-plenty – I’ve got’em!

Now, let’s see what I can do with them.

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