Friday, August 21, 2020

Realism in Writing


What elements do you include in your stories to make a story seem and feel more realistic to the reader? Thanks, Rhobin for another thought-provoking topic.

I guess the first things I use to make a story more realistic is setting and weather. It doesn’t have to be in a lot of detail, but enough information that the reader can picture where the story takes place and maybe feel the heat or the cold. They’re there with the character. Adding a hobby, or occupation can make the character more realistic. It might be one they can relate to or one they’re interested in learning about. What the character is feeling so the reader can get a better feel for the character. And I add a lot of characteristics, so the reader gets to know the character better. A pet is always a nice touch. Be it a dog or a horse it can draw the reader in and give a more realistic touch to the story.

Here’s the beginning to Death Southern Style. See if the details make the story feel more realistic.

Perrine Dupré hurried down the street. She needed to get home. Dark New Orleans clouds hovered overhead. Thunder rolled. Large drops of late May rain pelted the streets of the French Quarter. It sounded like hail as the fat globs bounced off the pavement behind Perrine. The ozone mixed with the scent of magnolia and the smell of shrimp and fish cooking in the area.
The older African American woman struggled against the wind. It whipped her umbrella inside out. She clutched it tightly so not to lose it. Rain blurred her vision. Thunder crashes caused her to jump. She stumbled up the three steps to her front door. Her daughter was coming home for a visit. Perrine’s pulse increased and a smile sneaked out.
And now let’s see what my fellow authors have to say about realism in writing.

8 comments:

  1. Weather is definitely helpful to draw the reader in. We all experience it every day in different ways and it impacts our lives, thus we can relate to our characters when they are dealing with chilly cold, pelting rain, steaming heat, storms and sunshine.

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  2. Yep, that thunderstorm put me right there with Perrine! Great example.

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  3. Yes, getting the reader to empathize with your characters means that you have to have done it first--while you were writing. That's the beauty of fiction--we can never really BE another person, except in fiction. And how wonderful is that? To live so many other lives, while still being ourselves?

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  4. Super great description of the setting and it does feel very real. From the jumping at the sound to the clutching her umbrella and the pelting rain. Great way to make it real to any reader.

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  6. Oh I love that example! Puts you right into the heavy humid day. Since I've been to the French Quarter, it brought back a lot of mental images as well!

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  7. I like that you mention a pet being a nice touch. The way their human interacts with them often is a neat way of building characterization. The cowboy who gives his horse a thoughtful pat on the neck, the girl who picks up and cuddles her cat, or the guy who rescues a dog all are ways of showing caring and compassion. Definitely show don't tell!

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  8. I love writing setting and weather. You're right. It can bring the character(s) right into the story. Liked the umbrella turning inside out. We can just see that and feel the rain drops. A good setting with (any kind of) weather can set the scene for the whole novel.

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