Monday, January 7, 2013

Verisimilitude. What does that even mean?

This isn’t one of those 'word-a-day' calendars, and yet here I am throwing out words I’ve never used but plan to…in three…two…one--

Verisimilitude is the word that I’ve been avoiding in my writing…well not the use of it, but the effect of it. It’s believability, the appearance of truth, and it’s really getting under my skin.

Confession time. I’m not a very patient person. (Ok, whew, glad that’s off my chest.)One of the great things about writing fiction is that you can create worlds and if you write it, it happens. Right? Well, sort of. You can write about flying gorillas and worlds that exist inside of peanuts, but if you do like me and rush right into the thick of things without doing some research somewhere along the way, you’ll find yourself in a great big mess.

This is something that I’m learning as I type this.

I hear that J.K. Rowling had boxes of notebooks where she evolved her world on paper. Boxes?! And guess what? People of all ages love her story. They can’t get enough. Was it worth the plotting and planning? Absolutely. Is it totally necessary to create a good story? I don't know that we need dozens of notebooks full, but I’m realizing that without some research, we don’t know our world as well as we should to make it believable, and that is what engages readers…unless I want to write about a slightly nutty mother of three that lives in the Midwest. Interested? I didn't think so.

It will be a lesson in patience but it must be done.

It frustrates me to be in the mode to write yet sit down to the computer and scratch out meager tidbits about setting, characters, you know, the things that make a story fun? I want the entree- no potatoes, no parsley, just get to the story. Words on paper. Yet that’s not enough and I, like everyone else, must take the time and appreciate all parts of writing, even the slow ones that make us feel like we wasted our day doing nothing at all.

Verisimilitude. Research it. Own it. Make people believe (at least temporarily) that it could really happen. 


Your thoughts, please...