It’s one of those tiny details that trips authors up a lot. How much do you focus on the teeth of your characters? Do you gloss over it? If it’s a romance, do they need Hollywood teeth? Or does everyone of low class look like the meth addicts from Orange Is the New Black?
Many people think in linear terms: the further in the past characters are set, the worse their teeth are. But this may not be a reliable rule of thumb if you’re looking to splash a little bit of historical accuracy into your characters’ faces. But it’s not just about historical accuracy. Thinking about teeth can be one of those little details that speak volumes about your narrative, the technology and tone of your world.
So, how does that impact what you’re writing? Does it mean that the characters in a long-ago era would all have bad teeth? Would it be regional? Sociological? And, what about Austin Powers? The answer is a little more complicated than you might think. Let’s look at history a bit to get a better understanding. Continue reading “Writing and Teeth: Should Your Characters Have Bad Teeth?”
If you ask a sentimental woman who the perfect hero in fiction is, you’ll instantly hear the name Mr. Darcy. Most men, on the other hand, would choose Tyler Durden as the character who gets close to the perfect hero. These are two extreme choices, but they have something in common: they are imperfect. Mr. Darcy is really proud; he is a character who would annoy most women in reality. Durden is far from perfect, too. He is mysterious and weird, but incredibly charismatic at the same time.
There is only one conclusion we can draw when analyzing the most notable heroes from literary fiction: they are not a reflection of our idea of the ideal human being. Keeping that in mind, here are some important hints that tell you what readers want in their “perfect” fictional hero: Continue reading “What Does the Perfect Literary Hero Look Like?”
In my life as a college teacher (yes, I’m not ashamed to admit that I don’t earn enough from writing detective novels to just write detective novels) we have this thing called course evaluations. You remember them: before grades are entered, students evaluate their courses and instructors.
Occasionally I get a bad review from the poor student. I understand the psychology at work: if a student is doing poorly in a course and is likely to get a D or an F, it’s unlikely he or she is going to say, “Well, I was a poor student. I didn’t study, didn’t come to class, didn’t write the papers. But I realize that the instructor seemed prepared, seemed to know what he was talking about, seemed to be fair in grading the papers. I can see now that it wasn’t on him. It was all on me.” No, I don’t expect that kind of insight. A sinking student is not going down alone.
Which brings me to book reviews. All in all, my two detective books have gotten very positive reviews. (You’re thinking, “Oh, my God, he isn’t going to criticize his readers, is he? He can’t be that stupid, can he?” My answers: “yes” and “apparently.”) Continue reading “What Does a Reader Owe a Writer?”