Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Realism is Overrated : Guest Post by author Lauren Carr

The Highly Over-Rated Aspect of Fiction: Realism
By Lauren Carr

Recently an interviewer asked me this question:
In Cancelled Vows, David O’Callghan discovers, only days before his wedding, he has another wife he must divorce first. He doesn’t even remember marrying anyone. How realistic do you feel this scenario could be?
Frankly, this question made me laugh because I got into an argument with an editor who had read an early draft of Cancelled Vows. She claimed the whole premise was “unbelievable.”
I will confess that I do not know anyone who got married without knowing it. Actually, the premise is not really that original. In the nineties, Friends did an episode in which Ross and Rachel got drunk and ended up married in Las Vegas. In Castle, Kate discovers she has been married many years as a result of a trip to Las Vegas back in her wild college days.
In Cancelled Vows, David O’Callaghan explains that in addition to being drunk at the time, he did not think the wedding ceremony was real because he and his bride had gotten married at a drive-thru and the nuptials were part of a value meal that included deluxe burgers and wimpy fries. He had dismissed the wedding as part of a Las Vegas tourist experience—not a legally binding ceremony.
While this video from YouTube doesn’t include a value meal with the ceremony, it will give readers an idea of how a couple of drunk tourists may dismiss the whole experience as not a real wedding.
After years of writing and living, I have learned one very important thing when it comes to plotlines:
Truth is Stranger than Fiction. Therefore, Never Discount Any Premise as Being Totally Unrealistic.
A few years ago, a friend of mine published her first book, which was a romantic suspense. At one point in the storyline, a homicidal maniac walks out of the mental hospital and goes on a murder spree.
While the book received wonderful reviews and decent sales, some readers declared it unbelievable—claiming that it is impossible for a mental patient with a murderous history to simply walk out of a mental hospital the way the author wrote it.
However … this author had the last laugh last year (though it was a tragic last laugh) when less than an hour from where she lived, a patient with a murderous history simply walked out of the mental hospital where he was locked up and went on a murder spree—in the same manner that she had written in her book five years earlier!
When this happens, there is something deep down in the writer that makes her want to say, “Told you so!”
In January 2015, when Three Days to Forever was released, a few readers, not reviewers, but readers, declared that certain aspects of the plot and storyline were too fantastic.
One reviewer, and a reader or two, could not believe the love at first sight storyline involving Jessica Faraday (Mac’s daughter) and Murphy Thornton (Joshua’s son.) While it was a nice fantasy, it would never happen. However, there have been cases of love at first sight. In an article published by the Wall Street Journal on April 20, 2015 (four months after the release of Three Days to Forever), some 41% of men, versus 29% of women, say they have experienced love at first sight.
In the opening of Shades of Murder, Gnarly, Mac’s German shepherd, plays the troll on the bridge—refusing to let the package delivery truck by until the driver paid the toll in the form of a dog biscuit. The same editor who has a problem with the premise of Cancelled Vows had the same issue with that scene. However, that whole scene is based on a white husky who lives in my very neighborhood. Sarge, a white husky, will sit down in the middle road when he hears the UPS or FedEx truck coming and refuse to move until they give him a biscuit.
Generally, writers of fiction long to escape reality to become immersed in the world of imagination. Think of all the wonderful stories that would never have been told if the authors had dismissed the premises as “too unrealistic.”
ü  Like, a tornado would not really carry a whole house to a faraway land called Oz. Even so, how could a girl and her little dog survive such an experience in one piece?
ü  What if George Lucas decided his idea of an intergalactic rebellion taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away was just too fanciful for movie goers to buy? I mean, life in another galaxy and Jedis? Really?
ü  And how can anyone find it a remotely realistic premise that a whole town could be taken over by vampires? Stephen King didn’t. 
All of these authors asked, “What if …” and then went from there—taking those readers willing to release their firm grip on reality on a roller coaster adventure.
So, when I sat down to write Cancelled Vows, I asked myself -- 
What if years ago, David went to Las Vegas with a girlfriend and they got drunk, went through a drive-thru wedding chapel which offered burgers and wimpy fries in addition to a quickie nuptial which neither of them took seriously? What if, days before David’s wedding, he finds out this wedding ceremony was real and now he, Mac, and Gnarly need to go to New York to get the marriage dissolved? And what if, while in New York, murder sends David on the run—threatening to unhinge all of his wedding plans?
I invite readers longing to escape reality to join me in this latest Mac Faraday Mystery—Cancelled Vows.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Reader's Muse! Thank you so much for allowing me to stop in today for this guest post about realism and your great review of CANCELLED VOWS. It is great to be here and I look forward to meeting your followers. I am sure they will all enjoy the latest installment of the Mac Faraday Mysteries.


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