Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Discovered Story

Those stories of fiction I like best feel discovered not created.
I know you’ve been there, reading a book or watching a movie and you think: "Why don't they just call the police?" When that happens you are no longer in the story; suddenly you are on the outside looking in.
As a writer there are things I’ve learned to avoid. In an early version of the Spear Bearer novel I once had the villain explaining what motivated know the drill: a 30 minute speech with the villain laughing a wicked laugh at its conclusion. But this isn’t natural—bad guys generally don’t feel the need to explain themselves.
If an author is writing non-fiction, then the story he or she tells will literally be discovered. Fictional stories should have the same discovered quality, I believe. A story shouldn't feel manufactured. The events that happen should make sense; the character's actions and dialogue should always conform to the nature of that particular character.
A good example of a discovered story, in my opinion, is The Fault in Our Stars by +John Green. The characters act in a believable manner; the events sometimes seem random, but they are always within reason. 
Fantasy and science fiction stories also can be discovered stories. Although you know that space battleships don't really exist, within the context of the science fiction novel they do exist. As long as the fiction writer is true to his world, and his characters act according to their nature, the story will still feel discovered. A good example of a sci-fi discovered story would be The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
I'd like to hear your suggestions on what you consider to be discovered stories. If you've read a story and you've become involved with the characters and you've seen the world through their eyes, then you have read a discovered story. If it feels wholly real, even though it may take place on another world in another galaxy, then you have read a discovered story.