Monday, September 1, 2014

5 Things that Don't Happen Novels

I'm the past two months, I've talked with 7 different people named Sarah, and it got me thinking. They say novels are just life without the boring parts, and while you don't want books to be boring, the little things in life are what make it up.  So here are 5 Things that happen in real life that don't happen in novels.

1. People with the same name.  Like I said, I've had conversations with 7 Sarahs in the last few weeks.  I also know a large number of Emilys, Elizabeths, Rebeccas, and about a million Austens.  But in novels, each of these names is conveniently assigned to only one person.

2. Sneezes and Hiccups.  Unless it is to further a plot, when was the last time a character randomly sneezed?  Yet I sneeze all the time.  I'm likely yo sneeze once or twice a day for no apparent reason.

3. Owning pets.  I actually didn't think of this one, Emily Rachelle of Emily Rachelle Write actually thought of it and pointed it out.  Pets are normally only in a novel if they are important to the plot.  But in reality, almost everyone I know owns a pet in some way.

4. Normal Religious People. It seems like in non-religious novels, all the characters are either completely okay and in agreement with each others atheism, or they all enjoy making fun of that one cooky religious person who acts like an idiot living in the middle of nowhere.  In real life, there are more than a few people I know who believe in God, pray before meals, and talk about it, even with their non-Christian friends. Yet in novels no one seems to be casually religious. (Please forgive the term.)

5. Daily Chores. In real life, I have chores like feeding the dog and cat every day. I also mow the lawn, babysit my siblings, cook food, do dishes, and a plethora (bonus points for use of that word!) of other things.  Characters in contemporary novels seem to have a lot more time in their schedule than your typical 16 yo.  Contrary to popular belief, high schoolers are filling out scholarships, college and job applications. We're also thinking about internships, college majors, community service, on top of the family chores we are required to do each day.

What do you think of my list? What other items would you like to add?  Leave a comment and let me know, or better yet, write up a post of your own!

Thanks for reading and have a great week.


28 comments:

  1. Some other things:

    - Doing your hair
    - Doing your make-up (as far as you use it ;-))
    - A character who's reading a book just for relaxing doesn't happen very often as well.

    These were my first thoughts when I read this post. And about number #1: I think it's better for novels, because it would be way too confusing when everyone would have the same name.

    arendedewit.blogspot.com

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    1. It would be quite confusing it have two characters with the same name, but some of that confusion happens in real life. There are two couples at my church named Tim and Deb. One time my mom told my dad Tim and Deb called, and then he called the wrong Tim and Deb back. This is a name confusion that happens regularly in real life, so why not books too?
      I totally agree about hair, make-up, and reading. Bookworm characters are few and far between.
      Thanks for commenting!
      ~Sarah

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  2. Very fun post :) I hadn't noticed some of those things before, but they're all definitely true!

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    1. Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading!
      ~Sarah

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  3. I love this post! I agree with all of your points, except it would get very confusing if there were multiple characters with the same name. Also, I never really read about characters going to the bathroom. Don't they need to go too? ;)

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    1. In the River of Time series they actually talk about going to the bathroom, missing tampons, and such. I found it kind of funny since not many books do that. :)

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    2. Jillian: In one series I really like called Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians, the narrator mentions how inconvenient it is that all the characters have to wait for chapter breaks to go to the restroom. The book doesn't take itself too seriously and is quite fun to read!

      Brooke: The more I hear about River of Time the more I think I ought to read it. Sounds like just a great series!
      Thanks for commenting, ladies!
      ~Sarah

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    3. In the Blood of Kings series the characters leave to use the bathroom (woods) alot.

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    4. I always think about how convenient it is in books and movies that must of time they don't have to go to the bathroom.... :)

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  4. It's funny how people don't talk about normal things like chores and that. I've been writing a superhero book, and one of the things I've been trying to remember is to give them a normal life with chores and responsibilities. It's one of those things I think that shouldn't take over, but really make a book feel real. I agree with pretty much all your points.

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    1. Glad you like it, Imogen! I think it's great that you're trying to put in the extra effort to include chores and other little things of life.
      ~Sarah

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  5. I may be unpopular, but I LOVE reading about these little details in novels! I think a lot of people might find them boring, but I don't! I've actually read books where there are characters with similar names - KILL THEM WITH FIRE! lol.

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    1. Wow! That's a lot of animosity you're harboring toward like-named characters! And after reading all the comments it seems like you're not the only one who likes all the little details included!
      Thanks for commenting!
      ~Sarah

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  6. You're right. A lot of novels just don't mention the normal day-to-day things that real people do. It must be a hard balance, though, because a writer can't put in so many day-to-day routine details that the story is dragged down, yet at the same time, day-to-day routine details help make the story more believable.

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    1. There's a quote that says "Books are just life with all the boring parts taken out." This is so true! But I totally agree that it's hard to find a balance between enough detail included to seem real without bogging down the reader or story.
      Thanks for commenting!
      ~Sarah

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  7. Chores are mentioned in The Babysitter Books a great deal, as are pets, but even in books about adults they don't seem to mention that adults have to take out the trash , feed the cat and such. Sometimes it's the little, normal things that make me connect to a characters. Though as someone mentioned I agree with the no two names the same rule; I would be so confused! lol

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    1. Ah The Babysitter Club. That brings back memories. It seems like the normal and humdrum help a lot of readers connect with characters. I'll try to remember that as I write.
      Thanks for commenting!
      ~Sarah Faulkner

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  8. I love this! Although I do think it would be pretty humorous to read about a character's sneeze. ;)

    One author that does mention these small details is Erynn Mangum, and I think that's one reason why I love to read her books. They're different, and I feel more connected to the story for that reason. (And in her Maya Davis series, the protagonist even owns a dog!)

    =)

    Tessa
    www.christiswrite.blogspot.com

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    1. Good to know some authors don't neglect the details! I'll have to look in Erynn Mangam's books. Thanks for the recommendation!
      ~Sarah Faulkner

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  9. Just for that, I'm going to make one of my characters sneeze.

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  10. This is spot on. I too have noticed the lack of repeated names in literature. But there is one of the lines we must draw between real life and fiction. It's a small sacrifice we must make for the sanity of our readers. :)

    I agree with Jillian about the immense gulf between characters and bathrooms. For being one of the few things all humans -- all creatures, actually -- do, several times a day, it's surprisingly absent in literature. I'm hesitant to write it because it seems too personal. (Yet I write the way more personal struggles of my character's heart . . .) Also, if it's not important to the story, why include it? I wouldn't want my reader waiting in vain for the plot-twisting result of my character's half-sentence-long bathroom break. Eh, but it is reality, so worth a mention here and there. Great, now you've got me thinking about this. :) Next blog post: The Bathroom Controversy.

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    1. I greatly look forward to reading The Bathroom Controversy. :) If you end up writing it, shoot me an email at sarahyfaulkner(at)gmail.com so I can read it! Thanks for reading and commenting!
      ~Sarah

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  11. I totally think you're right, books DO leave these out...but I think it's a good thing for the names thing. That's just focusing on being crisp and good writing, you know? Like books NEED to be realistic, but they also have to be well written. To be fully realistic, dialogue should be more like, "Um, yeah, so then I said..." and that would drive you NUTS reading after a while.

    Chores though...seriously, why don't YA contemporary teens have to do chore?!! And the sneezing thing: YES. But I don't read many books with people with allergies either. -_- Ohhh, and the religious thing YES YES!! I think religion should be in books and not have to even be a big deal.

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    1. I agree that there's a fine line between realistic and bogged down with unnecessary information. It's probably better to err on the side of to little information, rather than too much. I would so like to see more books with chores mentioned, as well as books with religious characters that aren't nut jobs. Glad you agree with me.
      Thanks for reading!
      ~Sarah

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  12. I never actually thought about that before, but yeah! I used to think going to the bathroom wasn't in books, but then I found a book called "Mothership" so there goes that one.

    I think what I usually miss the most is the absence of normal friendships, especially between opposite genders. If people are close friends, then part of their relationship will become part of the conflict, almost always. Romantic tension is also easy to achieve this way.

    In real life, I'm accustomed to having some close friends and we don't really have problems with each other and I am comfortable having several male friends who I don't fall in love with. We're friends. And that is all.

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    1. See, I don't really have any close guy friends, so that's not one I'd thought about. But now that you mention it I can totally see it! Thanks for commenting!
      ~Sarah

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  13. Cool post! To be honest, lots of books seem to have high-schoolers do a very limited amount of homework. School is just 'one other thing' the characters go through, when in real life school is HUGE.Not that I want to know all their school stuff, but it would be pretty nice to know they don't have it so easy. :)

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  14. Good points. XD Though I have seen chores done in some novels. The same name thing probably doesn't happen because it can be confusing for the reader. Several of my characters own pets because I love pets.

    Stori Tori's Blog

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