Most days I'm sane but occasionally I drift off into a fantasy world where up is down and down is up and nothing makes a lot of sense. It's on one of those days that I wrote the story below.
I was sitting in my recliner the other day watching television when I felt a tickling on my arm. I looked and at once saw a black spider about the size of a dime. In that instant, it seemed to be shimmering like a half-dead firefly. But I cannot be sure because I instantly swept it away with my hand. I jumped out of my seat and looked for the small critter. It should have been on the carpet but I did not see it. I moved my chair thinking it might have crawled underneath it. There was no sign of it. I shifted the coffee table which was a few feet in front of the chair. Nothing, nada. That was disappointing. I would not feel safe until I had killed it.
I checked my arm to be certain that it had not already bitten me and for some reason, I hadn’t felt it. I could see no indication that the arachnid had punctured my skin. That was good. Though the chance that this spider was like the one that had bitten Peter Parker was astronomical, it was not impossible.
I live outside a small town, not a big city. This was not the type of environment that a spider person could thrive.
I ran a scenario in my head of what it would be like if I should become another spider man. It was not good. To fight crime in the city I would have to drive myself to town. There are no big buildings from here to there that I could shoot my web to and swing myself forward. The best I could do would be to try to hit a few trees and hope the branches held. And probably for half the time, I would even have to walk. That would be a little embarrassing and it would be hard to hide my identity.
It wouldn’t be much easier once I reached town. The courthouse is the largest building in the town, and it is only three stories high. Furthermore, it sets on a large plot of land that is separated from the retail shops, businesses, and restaurants. It is too far away for me to swing between the courthouse and the other establishments.
Swinging through the rest of downtown wouldn’t be much easier. The buildings down Main street are either single or two-story. If I tried swinging through town on a web I would likely run into pedestrians or skim across the sidewalks. Even if I were successfully staying high enough off the ground my journey would only be a matter of minutes. I would run out of buildings and be out of town.
It was unlikely that I would find any high-profile criminals around here anyway. My biggest fights would likely be with small-time drug dealers or shoplifters. I do not think it would even be worth making the costume. Besides,I couldn’t make the costume like the one in the comic books and the movies anyway. I am sure Marvel or Disney has a trademark or a patent on the suit.
I can’t sew. That would be a problem if I needed a suit. I guess I would have to hire someone and hope they wouldn’t reveal my identity.
It was after that thought that I checked myself again. No bite marks. I searched the area again for the spider. It seems the creature had disappeared.
Hopefully, the spider won’t return. I don’t want to have to move to the big city and fight crime. I’ve gotten comfortable living in a small town. Besides, it sounds like too much work.
The first Stephen King book I read was “The Stand”. Undeniably it was a great story. But what drew me into this story more than anything else were the characters. He painted them so magnificently that I felt like I knew them. And this was not a story of three or four characters. There were plenty of them. Yet, none of them were the same. This was not simply a matter of changing their hair styles, or the color of their eyes. He displayed their inner being that distinguished one personality from another. These were not simply cardboard people. I could see them in my mind’s eye.
Some would disagree with me but to me the characters are the main heart of a story. Though the storyline might be ingeniously written, but if the characters seem phony then it is not going to seem believable.
Here are a few steps to create real, believable characters.
1) You must become the character that you write about. Any serious actor will spend a great deal of time getting to know the person he is to portray. In some ways the writer must do the same. You must first believe in this character you are creating before you can expect others to believe. It is a good idea to know more about your character than you actually put on the page.
2) Find the voice of the character. If you know your character, then you should have some idea of how he speaks. Is he loud and boisterous, is he timid, is his voice soft or harsh, does his words exude confidence, is he negative, impatient, does he have a draw, does he use words incorrectly, does he repeat himself, etcetera.
3) Match the mood of the story. If the story becomes tense the dialogue should go with it. If done right it will intensify the mood, making the story richer and will serve to move and/or deepen the plot.
4) Pacing. Dialogue in a story can speed up or slow down the speed of the story. To speed it up you should use short, quick remarks, often words that displays an urgency to the scene. To slow down the pace you would want to expand the dialogue making it seem less of an urgency.
5) Create realistic dialogue as the conflict rises. Not every dialogue is the same. Some should be avoided. Some should be embraced.
1) Avoid a dialogue that goes nowhere. If the dialogue does not advance the scene by adding some type of insight, then it should be avoided.
2) Avoid leaping. Don’t jump directly from problem to solution. There should be some steps in between. If not, the reader is likely to feel cheated and mentally dizzy from the jump.
3) Embrace a gradual rise. Move the story along in slow steps, increasing the level of suspense and should help lead the story to a satisfactory ending.
6) Dialogue is a necessary part of any story, but don’t let it overwhelm the narrative. Like the adage goes; actions often speak louder than words.
7) Avoid dialogue that repeats what the reader has already been told through action or previous dialogue. This is a rather obvious note but sometimes we forget what we created earlier in the story.
8) Read the dialogue aloud. Make sure it sounds natural to the character. A professional businessperson would not normally speak the same as a blue-collar-worker. The same with people from the north compared with people from the south. Like anything in life there are exceptions to these statements. But if there is no reason for these deviations it can make the character seem unreal. Having a famed surgeon speak like a mob boss will likely cause the reader to lose interest in the story.
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When I write a blog, I try to keep it relevant. Often it will be about writing and books. I also review books that I read.