Should fiction be believable?

I had the pleasure of watching the movie Prometheus Saturday. I love movies, novels, paintings, songs that challenge my beliefs or make me reconsider my opinions. I love any form of art that pushes the boundaries of thinking and conventional wisdom.

Leaving the theatre it struck me how differently an audience will consider a movie or novel when offering an opinion. Fans of science fiction, for example, accept that a subject in itself is fiction but they are very opinionated if the story does not follow scientific norms.  If a character has the ability to fly there has to be a reason the character has the power to do so. If characters are on an alien planet there has to be an explanation for having a breathable atmosphere. For fans of supernatural or paranormal fiction, there are characteristics of the types of monsters, ghosts, zombies that are accepted and if the writer attempts to stretch or alter those characteristics the change has to be explained or at least understandable to the discernable reader. One can't just sit down and write a zombie story that doesn't follow the nature of zombies unless the characteristical changes are at minimum defined. For the "zombies" of The Raised the search for the truth is part of the story therefore allowing me to bring my readers along for the ride as the mystery is unraveled. 

I could describe every genre of fiction and we would accept there are parameters in each, a Bible if you will, that we as writers abide by.  For me as a writer of dark fiction I have made my first goal that my fiction be "believable" though in dwelling on the subject I wonder myself how I made the decision. Fiction is like freedom, boundless and expanding, and I should not restrict myself to what is "believable" if I wish to tell a story that could be conceived beyond the believable. As a writer I want my fiction to be believable even though I love that my readers have established their own opinions of my work and I would never want to influence their opinions especially if their interpretation of my work makes them love it.

But perhaps the word believable is not the correct word to use. Perhaps it is a requirement that the story simply makes sense, that the reader moves from beginning to end and appreciates the journey? So in asking the question "should fiction be believable?" I need to simply tell myself that fiction only has to be enjoyable. In the constructs of fiction, all things are believable.


A Review of The Raised

I hope everyone had a chance to read Mark Wilson's review of The Raised. I am always appreciative of the feedback offered by other writers. If you haven't had a chance to read Mark's work I would highly recommend checking him out. Below is a link to his review of The Raised.


Thrillers, Chillers and Killers

I am very pleased that Snap is a Thrillers, Chillers and Killers selection by the blog A Knife and Quill.


When Hate Leads to Creativity

I'm working full steam ahead on the second novel in The Raised series.  There are plenty of adventures that remain for the Morrelini family and all those they have affected. There are also many questions that remain to be answered and I look forward to telling you more of their story.  This leads to another issue I want to talk about.

Often these days I am asked the question, "why do you hate religion?"  I don't hesitate to answer.  I hate that religion instills fear to control people, is used to manipulate and victimize women and is exploited to justify every form of bigotry one could name. But instead of merely condemning the exploitation of religion I've decided to reveal my own thoughts and opinions regarding religion through the fiction I write.  My characters have never seen eye to eye on the subject of God and faith and that's the way I like it.  My characters themselves challenge me to think deeper on the subject of faith and beliefs in God or a higher power.  In The Raised one of my favorite scenes is the scene in which Sarah and Tomias become acquainted and they discuss their beliefs or lack thereof in God as they walk through the town of Kensington.  It's a discussion that can be overlooked for it's subtle references but it is indeed one of my favorites as it leads to a unique bond between the two characters rather than driving them apart.

In Snap you can say the opposite. The repercussions of religion are a direct effect on the Killer Ghost and why the character lashes out the way he does. Not only does he blame the people who condemn him, he blames the religion they use to justify their condemnation.

Writing is a learning experience for me and as I continue to write and grow, I hope to learn more about myself and more about you.


Compared to Anne Rice

Thursday night while enjoying a night out with some of my friends a nice gentleman approached our table and said to me, "You're Allen Renfro, right?  I'm reading your book The Raised. I'm half way through it and really enjoying it.  Are you influenced by Anne Rice?"  I believe the glow on my face lit the restaurant and could have made the Tennessee River stop flowing at least for a brief moment. I acknowledged that yes indeed Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors and is a tremendous influence on me.  I was honored that a reader of my work recognized those that have influenced me.  To be compared to Anne Rice even as an influence was special to me and he will likely never realize how enriching his comments were.  I will never have the reach or influence that an author as talented as Anne Rice has, but for five minutes on Thursday night I felt that in one reader's eyes I had come very close.