Instant Reality Building – by Dr Bob Rich
by Jorm S
Instant Reality Building
Suppose you’re writing about your hometown, with characters who are just like the people who live there and doing the kinds of things they do.
Reality building is STILL needed.
In creative writing, there are actors, a setting, a director, and an audience. All of these, every one of these roles, is the reader. The author’s job is to provide the information the reader needs to carry through this job specification—and to stay off the stage.
My formula for this is to introduce a witness, whose point of view I use. I report this person’s inner experience: actions, perceptions, memories, thoughts, reactions, bodily sensations. This is the vehicle for instant reality building.
One picture is worth a thousand words, but sorry, I am no good at visual arts. So instead, here is a sample from my work in progress, the Doom Healer series:
-Maxwell Harte felt queasy as the plane descended. But I don’t get motion sickness! he thought. Maybe it was something he ate yesterday in Abu Dhabi? As the wheels rumbled on the tarmac, he felt a need to go to the toilet and desperately tightened the relevant muscles. Remembering the old joke about “One must learn to contain oneself” helped a little, but for God’s sake, he didn’t want to disgrace himself.
At last they stopped, and eventually the seatbelt light flicked off. He just knew: he’d dirty his pants if he reached up to take his case from the overhead locker, so asked a young fellow. Somehow, he managed to make it all the long way into the building, and to the Gents, but… but his guts exploded while he was still lowering his posterior. YUK! He emptied all he could while standing in a sort of a crouch, then used endless toilet paper to clean up the seat and floor as best he could. Then he scrubbed his hands with hot water and that jelly stuff till he thought the skin might come off. He went to collect his luggage. Standing by the carousel, he began to feel lightheaded and hot.
He woke to the sound of a siren, lying flat in what had to be an ambulance, with a drip into the back of his right hand. “Uh, what happened?” he asked.
“Sir, you fainted at the airport, and nearly choked on vomit. You should be fine now.”
Only, he wasn’t. He was dead within half an hour of admission to hospital.
This is 265 words, and a story in itself. Poor Max doesn’t feature in the story before or after this point, but the superbug takes off and is a major thematic element in the book.
How does it compare to an explanation?
-Meanwhile a sudden epidemic erupted in Britain, on the other side of the world. It was identified as a mutated e coli, and traced to Heathrow Airport, and had spread to several other countries before containment measures were started.
I could go on, but YAWN.
Get the picture?
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