The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 September 2006

Yeah, but they all do that

I've never written any genre fiction, unless there's a genre called "sucky," but from what I've read, I have to believe that an essential component thereof is an adroit manipulation of cliché: if your characters are stock, they should be at least recognizable stock.

Or maybe not. Major romance fan Tara Marie has some serious questions:

Do all redheads have fiery tempers and green eyes? Are all Italians hotheads? Can you imagine what a red-headed Italianís temper must be like?


Why do 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Ö generation Hispanic, Italian and Cajun men all revert back to their grandparents' mother tongue while making love?

If they lapsed into Latin, you'd suspect them of having a surplice in the closet somewhere.

Should all vampires be tormented, wear black and speak without ever using a contraction?

I had an idea once for a vampire from Georgia (our Georgia, where Atlanta, not Tbilisi, is the capital), complete with (faint) accent, a disdain for monochrome garb, and a fondness for NASCAR. I could not, however, bring myself to call him "Count Dacula."

Does "feisty" in the back blurb mean the heroine will inevitably do something stupid enough to need rescuing by the hero?

"Feisty," in my experience, is a substitute for "short": regardless of whatever attitude she may be copping at any particular moment, no one will ever refer to Elle Macpherson as "feisty." In fact, people over five-eight in general are never described as "feisty" unless they play in the National Basketball Association, in which case the cutoff is six-one.

I need hardly point out that this does not at all preclude stupidity.

Posted at 7:35 AM to Almost Yogurt

My problem with writing fiction is that I'm very, very good at writing characters.

Having interesting and believable things happen to them, not so much.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:29 AM on 19 September 2006

Who cares if there isn't anything believable happening plotwise. Just label it under fantasy.

I've noticed a lot of stock characters in fiction as well, but it only works if the author puts a unique twist to them, making them seem *more* in depth and the "stock" part of the character merely window dressing.

This reminds me of plots. There are only so many plots in the world--but why do people keep reading new books? Because the authors have somehow managed to add a fresh perspective to the story.

Posted by: sya at 1:08 PM on 19 September 2006

Who cares if there isn't anything believable happening plotwise. Just label it under fantasy.

All fiction has to be believable, even when it's fantasy.

Posted by: McGehee at 3:01 PM on 19 September 2006

Feisty does mean short. Unfortunately, I'm a little on the feisty side.

Posted by: Rachel at 8:28 PM on 19 September 2006