You've got to be Honest

Simon Pegg being honest with how he feels in Hot Fuzz:

Being honest in your writing is vital.

How the characters express themselves and how the story develops needs to be written in a way that doesn't cheat or insult the reader. And, like in the clip above, sometimes that means you might insult or upset some people with the language you use or where you take your characters.

People can tell when things aren't true you see.

Then the illusion of reality around your fiction crumbles. So if there is sex and it is true to the story and character then you need to put it in. The same with swearing and violence. Otherwise you are just a writer that sings a hollow song that connects with no-one but the uptight and religious right. We need to connect with people's hearts and move them to laughter and tears.

To do that takes courage.
It takes honesty.

Be warned though, if you are not honest and put aside your personal views or embarrassment of how your friends and family will view you through what you write, your fiction is doomed.

There you go that was straight to the point I think.

Jogg on ...



Anonymous said...

Too right. This is an important point, Mike. Conversely, it's important not to be controversial merely for the sake of it, would you say? Although, on second thoughts, setting out to provoke a reaction may be a valid approach and fun too!

And what a great movie 'Hot Fuzz' is. Also loved 'Shaun of the Undead' (if that's the correct title) by the same team.

Mike French said...

Paul: I agree, if you are controversial just for the sake of it, then again you break the illusion of reality in the fiction.

And almost, it's "Shaun of the dead"

And I agree both are brilliant films. Do you like Spaced with Simon Pegg?

Clip here

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen "Spaced' before. Not on TV here that I know, but the excerpt looks great. How long has it been running?

Mike French said...

There were only two series Paul, one in 1999 and the second in 2001.

After that they had to decide if they were going to make series 3 or go into films.

And as we all know they went for films and made the brilliant Shaun of the Dead and then Hot Fuzz, both of which reference scenes from Spaced in them.

Another great clip: Male bonding

Michael J. Kannengieser said...

Hi Mike,
I call not being honest with your story, characters,or even narration "self editing." If you're writing and wondering what your readers will think at the same time, then you are not really writing. I have to make sure to clear my head before I dive into my fiction, and I'm not talking about my blog posts. If I am going to create characters, they are not always nice, or politically correct, or even law abiding. I agree with your post here whole heartedly. Don't hold back, but be true to your story. Jogg on...

Mike French said...

Mr Grudge

Hi mate, well put.

I think the self-editing you mention needs to be done after you have finished writing.

Not in the manner of this post, i.e. will it upset people, but thinking how does this come across to the reader? Where can I tighten the writing, delete needless words, delete things not needed? etc

Michael J. Kannengieser said...

Hi Mike,
I like to say that self editing means holding back. Yes, we writers need to edit after we write and treat the first draft almost as an outline. Too many writers finish a first draft and merely go back and make spelling and punctuation corrections. One of the easiest way to edit your story after you've finished the first draft is to read it out front of a mirror. You'd be surprised at how quickly your literary voice falls apart under this simple test. You'll discover al of those clumsy passages, echoed words, and needless sentences which your eyes do not notice. How you read it out loud is different than the way your "voice" narrates the story, but it is much the same way as someone else is going to read what you wrote. I do this, even for my flimsy little blog posts and it helps. I really like your posts Mike. I'm coming back for more! I want to read the interview next. I still have to get into The Dandelion Tree, right after I finish reading the novel I am into now. I'll catch up with you soon. -Mike

Mike French said...

Mr Grudge:

Sound advice, thanks for your words of wisdom.

Scary how much dross you find in your own work after you have finished a first draft. At the time it all seems brilliant!