Little Red Riding Hood

There's something called "suspension of disbelief", and then there's just the stupid, crazy storylines that authors try to pull off.  Fiction doesn't work if it's not believable.  The lies have to appear true.

At this point, I don't know whether what I'm writing is believable or not – I don't know whether readers will buy that my main character gets involved with someone who's very, very bad (see my teaser for CREEP here).  Am I suspending disbelief or am I just trying to pull something off that's totally idiotic?

I remember reading Little Red Riding Hood when I was a kid, and the book had pictures, and right there in full color was the wolf.  He'd just eaten poor old Granny and was now wearing the old lady's clothes and beckoning to the little granddaughter to come closer.  I don't remember the exact exchange, but it goes something like this:

RED:   Oh my, Granny, what big ears you have!  (She steps closer, observing Granny curiously.)

WOLF:  The better to hear you with, my dear.

RED:  Oh my, Granny, what big eyes you have!  (Stepping closer still...)

WOLF:   The better to see you with, my dear.

RED:  Oh my, Granny, what big teeth you have!   (She's right in Granny's face... did she not see that Granny has a muzzle and is all covered in FUR!?)

WOLF:  The better to EAT you with, my dear!

And so the little red-cloaked twit gets eaten.  As she should.  Because she's a stupid, stupid little girl and she didn't see what the rest of us all did.  And yeah, I know the moral of the story is supposed to be that kids need to be careful around strangers, blah blah blah, but as a kid I always hated Red and was thrilled that she got swallowed whole.   She had it coming for being such a nitwit.

So is my main character stupid?  I certainly didn't write her that way, but who knows how the story's going to come out?

Ultimately, I guess as a writer I can make up anything I want... but whether you believe me or not is all in the execution.

3 comments:

  1. I've met lots of men that are 'wolves in sheep skin'. I don't think your main character is stupid at all, it can and does happen to ANYONE. I mean, let's look at it logically here, if Ethan kills someone in front of Sheila, and hides the weapon behind his back saying, "I didn't do it" and Sheila goes running into his arms ... THEN she IS as bad as Red!! :)

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  2. A really great lie has a sliver of truth woven in. Truth is a coasting coating, the lie is the covered poison.

    Yet, people like lies. Fiction is one elaboratelie, written to deceive, to offer people, places, and events that never existed. Movies flash characters that are larger in life - and very unreal.

    The beautiful thing about fiction, is that the story is not complete until someone reads it. Your character, Sheila, may appear to you as a simpleton like Little Red, but to another reader may be the victim of social norms that she desperately wishes she could ignore. Hapless and helpless in a way that is believable.

    So, before you place the loaded gun next to Sheila's temple, look closely and see if you can find that thread of truth. If you can, you have a great lie!

    Greg

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  3. You and I have discussed your characters multiple times and I have been privileged to read some of your story. They're definitely believable and there is no little red riding hood moron characters in your story.

    Ever since you have been writing you've been able to recognize all the stupid plots and characters we see on TV, in the movies and other books you read and I now you are your own worst critic. So their is no way you could live with a stupid little red riding hood character.

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