Thursday, May 7, 2009
Pick One (Or A Few)
So pick one. Action or romance? Huge world events and explosions or tight-knit relationships in their own little corners of the world? Wouldn't it be nice to have a scale in which you can easily categorize the type of stories you prefer?
I thought so, too.
So my father-in-law came up with The Fiction Scale. I have found it helpful in so many ways. In fact, I may ask those whose works I beta read in the future to categorize their work using The Fiction Scale so that I have an idea of where the story falls.
I apologize to any of you who have already seen this. I've been a walking zombie the past few days and just need to get some rest.
The Fiction Scale According to Steve Argyle
For my own convenience, I rate fiction on a scale that refers to the balance of characterization and plot. When I say "world events" I do not mean "our world events" but "book world events."
I categorize the books I read on a decimal scale. For example, I would rate the Harry Potter books at about a 5.8. Pride and Prejudice is a solid 1. My own life is a 2.6, so I mostly enjoy reading books in the 5 to 7 range
1. The characters have relationships with each other.
2. The characters have relationships with each other while world events happen vaguely in the background.
3. The characters have relationships with each other while doing things in the background.
4. The characters have relationships with each other while doing interesting things.
5. The characters have relationships with each other AND do interesting things related to world events.
6. The characters do interesting things that shape world events and have relationships with each other in the background.
7. World events compel characters to do exciting things. Relationships are a luxury.
8. World events ARE the real characters. People are just props in the background. Relationships are accidental.
My first novel, The Breakaway rates 4
My second novel, Monarch rates 5.5
I like 1 - 6 stories
(update: Justus asked some good questions in the comments section pertaining to what "interesting things" means. As I can't get a hold of my father in law right now, I'm taking a stab at answering Justus's question.
I came up with this so far: Knowing my father in law, what he means by "interesting things" is that the conflicts and trials that the characters overcome are either more dangerous or "grand scale" than the simple everyday conflicts and trials we overcome, like deciding who or how or whether or not we're going to marry, like in P&P)
Questions For You: Where does your own writing fall? Does it differ from what you like to read and watch? Do you think a scale like this might help you discuss literature with your fellow writers?
~MDA (aka Glam)