A little while back I wrote an article about gauging the quality of characters in fiction. The article focuses on one simple test I learned from some colleagues called ‘The Bus Test’. Basically, you take a character at any point in a story and hit them with a bus. Then you ask yourself, ‘Do I care that a bus just hit this character?” The method is listed on Urban Dictionary, so it has to be legit.
Writers use the Bus Test to fix characters, readers use it to know when to throw a book away.
Here is an example video for you more visual people:
Gets my point across. This method also works in film, as performed by Brad Pitt in the movie Meet Jo Black.
Do you care that they got hit by a moving vehicle? Would you care if the character you are writing or reading about just got ‘grilled’ by public transportation? If yes, then keep reading or writing. If no, then fix it.
Read the whole article on the Fiction Vortex site here.
I am writing this quick update between batches of canned peaches. I overdid it and bought a lot of peaches. A lot. Now I have to do something with them. Maybe this should count as my punishment for not meeting my goals the week before last. Then again, it isn’t fair that my wife should have to share the punishment. Katie is not happy about my impressive peach procurement capabilities.
That is only about a fourth of the peaches...
Last night I topped off the last of my 2100 words. That felt great, even if I was up late attacking my keyboard. So the character in my book is named Bret Reynolds. I didnt know his last name until last night around the 1800 word mark. It was like “bam, dude’s name is Reynolds.” I love it when the muse showers knowledge upon me.
This week I am taking a step back. Holiday weekends should not be spent in front of a computer, but with family and lots of yummy foods (yes, Cathy, I like food a lot. Didn’t you see me light up like crazy when you gave me a whole bag of m&m oatmeal cookies?). So the goal this week is a modest 1500 words. I already wrote my TWOS story, the title is awesome, and so any further writing will be pure Bret Reynolds story.
I want to thank everyone so far for their support. This blog is becoming a valuable tool for me. Now back to the peaches… joy.
The first week of my experiment. I have to say that I am both very excited and nervous. A friend has already volunteered the punishment for this week.
Two grown men beating me with sticks is a little drastic Jon. You know better than to get Quentin so excited. So don’t get out your quarterstaff just yet. Continue reading