Monday, January 07, 2008

How a woman can help your story

Speculative fiction writer and reviewer Ben Payne sums up the benefits of including a woman in your story:

Check out this example. In sentence one we have one of the "foe pars" of writing: the "As you know Bob".

"Nice work on that device, Mark," said Karlos to his colleague.
"Thanks Karlos," said Mark. "I used physics and chemistry and made quantum variables of the connector ribbon."

Don't be bamboozled by the science!! Now you'll notice that Mark is explaining something to his colleague that his colleague should already know!! Incongruous!!

But if we introduce a *woman* to this scenario, all of a sudden the "infodumper" is less intrusive. Because the woman probably *wouldn't* understand what Mark was talking about!! Check out the new version:

"Nice work on that device, Mark," said Lauren. She raised her eyebrows and brushed her long blonde hair away from her face. "But how on earth does it work?"
Mark admired Lauren's attractive figure. He'd been working with her for some time but never thought she'd notice a science geek with glasses like him. "It's quite simple," he said. "I used physics and chemistry and made quantum variables of the connector ribbon."
Lauren raised an eyebrow above her eye suggestingly. "Nice work," she said with a pert smile."How about dinner some time?"

Wow! You just got away with explaining the science, without disrupting the realism!!
What's sad is that there are probably authors out there who are thinking to themselves, "Hey yeah, what a great idea!"

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2 comments:

Laura said...

Oh, jeez. That's awful.

Brian said...

Sounds like some early companions to Dr. Who. "Dr. what are those things? Eek" But of course the male companion sort of asked a lot of questions too.