“You cannot be a good writer of serious fiction if you are not depressed.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
Don’t worry. You don’t have to be depressed right now. ‘Cause Fiction does not have to be serious all the time. It can be of ‘anything’. It has many kinds too. But only two general kinds of modern fiction are recognized as: Category or Genre Fiction and Mainstream Fiction. Category fiction includes science fiction, suspense, mystery, erotica, Gothic and writers like Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain were two category fiction writers. Mainstream writers like Ernst Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that kind of fiction which does not fit comfortably into one category fiction. Best example of mainstream fiction is Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.
A newbie writer would and must try to master one or at least two categories of category fiction such that then he would be able to to write a well-told mainstream fictitious story. For every reader wants to read well-told story and a writer who doesn’t enjoy each of word while writing then how can he make others like those words? Also, most modern day readers prefer category fiction such as mystery, fast-paced suspense, erotica, etc. Less reader prefer mainstream fiction. This can be confirmed by looking at any bestseller list in which 70-80% is category fiction.
So what makes a category fiction. Well there are four basic elements:
- Protagonist and Anti
- Motivation behind
Plot, as we all know, is the basic body of any story. If a story does not have a plot there would be no story. Ever Shakespeare’s plays have plots. Plot, depends all on writer’s imagination, and of course they way he develops it.
Hero/Heroine and/or Anti-Hero/Villain are the basic characters. A story need to have a hero and in any fiction this is essential. A writer can never write about a character without not focusing on it. Even that character might be a bunch of hair stuck in the drain. The writer will have to analyse and has to spotlight that bunch of hair as to focus on it. That spotlight would be on main character. Having an anti-hero/heroine or a villain is not necessary. I mean to say, not necessary in human form but a villain can a situation or a problem which the hero/heroine has to face in order to complete the plot. There can multiple villains but there cannot be more than one hero. The protagonist can always have a ‘side-kick’ or a supporting character or more than one.
Background is an essential part of a story especially if you are writing like science fiction. In science fiction a writer need to set some background for the plot is constructed in the future from the present time. Background needs to strong such that a reader will believe in it. Sometimes, due to background a reader can stick to the whole story thus just to know what lies in the future. Thus, background has a similar functionality of a glue.
Motivation behind the plot and character building always result in a good story. The characterization is always a requirement but the story should not be sacrificed for the sake of a character study. Don’t spend too much time on analyzing the character to the reader. Get-along with story. Motivation certainly have some further bullet points which I’ll be discussing in a future post.
So, stay tuned.