Last week we had the great quote from Mark Tiedemann (It's Not About the Buttons).
This week we have a panel discussion, You Gotta Have Characters, featuring thoughts from author and The Galaxy Express blogger Heather Massey and five other authors and editors.
Human nature is fairly unchanging and relatively easy to predict. For instance, people were acting like idiots several thousand years ago, and will no doubt continue to do so into the unforeseeable future. This is a good thing, because people doing stupid things is the essence of conflict and drama. Conflict and drama make for good stories.
- Lyda Morehouse
Not everyone is a tripped out science geek; however, all people know something about, well, people--and also relationships. Therefore, character-driven science fiction offers a built-in hook to pique readers' interest in physics, chemistry, biology, etc.
- Heather Massey
If, as I believe, the heart of fiction is character, then the core of science fiction is character and world building. But however marvelous it may be, a world without characters to inhabit it makes for arid reading.
- Helen Lowe
I think that art and life, when you aspire to something greater, require risk. The risk can take many forms. You can risk your life to go to another planet, risk your body by testing a new nanochip, risk your relationships as you insist upon doing the first two despite your partner's concerns. To me, the story comes from the result of taking that risk.
- Lynne Thomas
I once threw a very famous technothriller across the room because it had nothing that could be identified as characters. Ideas, check. Plot, big fat check. But when I looked for characters, as in real human beings living amid the tech and the derring-do, I couldn't find a single one.
- Judith Tarr
The real discoveries and work that's being done right now is weirder than most professional fantasists' imagination, and the quality of science and technology writing is very, very good. Without characters -- the human heart in conflict with itself was the way Faulkner put it, though I heard it from George RR Martin -- I don't think we can bring anything to the table that can't be beaten flat by reality.
- Daniel Abraham