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Monday, January 29, 2007 

Homo-Fictus vs Homo-Sapiens

Extracts from How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey :

Fictional characters homo fictus are not, however, identical to flesh-and-blood human beings homo sapiens. One reason for this is that readers wish to read about the exceptional rather than the mundane. Readers demand that homo fictus be more handsome or ugly, ruthless or noble, vengeful or forgiving, brave or cowardly, and so on, than real people are. Homo fictus has hotter passions and colder anger; he travels more, fights more, loves more, changes more, has more sex. Lots more sex. Homofictus has more of everything. Even if he is plain, dull, and boring, he'll be more extraordinary in his plainness, dullness, and boringness than his real-life counterparts.

Real human beings are fickle, contrary, wrong-headed -- happy one minute, despairing the next, at times changing emotions as often as they take a breath. Homo fictus, on the other hand, may be complex, may be volatile, even mysterious, but he's always fathomable. When he isn't, the reader closes the book, and that's that. Another reason the two species are not identical is that, because of space limitations, homo fictus is simpler, just as life is more simple in a story than it is in the real world.

Got to finish the book for more insights. May be I will start writing more readable posts or worse. In any case I now know why I read more trashes than classic. Because despite the twists-n-turns in the plots the characters are always fathomable for intellectually challenged people like me. Definitely makes me feel better now.