How can Brennan be a best-selling author of fiction?

  • Avatar of bearcatjb

    bearcatjb

    [1]May 14, 2010
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    I would like someone to explain how Brennan is able to write successful, critically acclaimed fiction given the type of character she is.


    I've only started watching "Bones" on DVD, and am only in the middle of season 2, so way behind the current episodes, so my question may have already been answered on the show.


    Brennan, at least by the middle of season 2, is awkward around people. She is literal, says the wrong thing, not really diplomatic, lacks social skills etc –things that Booth often intercedes to prevent making the situation worse. Things, I believe, that to us make her kind of endearing and likable even.


    Yet the ingredients of a successful novel include not just plot and storyline, but just as importantly, character interaction. If Brennan is so awkward in her society with people, how can she write characters with 'normal' social interaction? How can her characters behave with one another in the way that would make them appear normal, three-dimensional to the reader?


    That's my question, how can Brennan write about realistic people behaving realistic/normally with one another, if she is unable to do so herself?


    Nonetheless I love the show.

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  • Avatar of RoverGuy

    RoverGuy

    [2]May 14, 2010
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    In one episode this season it is mentioned that Angela helped her with some of the more "normal" stuff, like a hot sex scene, in her recent book. So maybe she has Angela as a "ghost helper" flesh out all the personal stuff for all her books.

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  • Avatar of Geri08

    Geri08

    [4]May 14, 2010
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    bearcatjb wrote:

    I would like someone to explain how Brennan is able to write successful, critically acclaimed fiction given the type of character she is.


    I've only started watching "Bones" on DVD, and am only in the middle of season 2, so way behind the current episodes, so my question may have already been answered on the show.


    Brennan, at least by the middle of season 2, is awkward around people. She is literal, says the wrong thing, not really diplomatic, lacks social skills etc –things that Booth often intercedes to prevent making the situation worse. Things, I believe, that to us make her kind of endearing and likable even.


    Yet the ingredients of a successful novel include not just plot and storyline, but just as importantly, character interaction. If Brennan is so awkward in her society with people, how can she write characters with 'normal' social interaction? How can her characters behave with one another in the way that would make them appear normal, three-dimensional to the reader?


    That's my question, how can Brennan write about realistic people behaving realistic/normally with one another, if she is unable to do so herself?


    Nonetheless I love the show.



    This question was answered in Bones on the Blue Line (S5) as RoverGuy has mentioned above...Enjoy all the seasons you have to watch before that one...By the way if you have any further questions we have a question and answer thread on the forum....
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  • Avatar of DavesJerseyGirl

    DavesJerseyGirl

    [6]May 14, 2010
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    The author who created Temperance Brennan, Kathy Reichs, is herself a best selling author of a dozen best selling novels and is also a forensic anthropologist, so I dont' think it's much of a stretch that someone with a very analytical mind is also capable of writing great fiction. Kathy Reichs is an advisor on the show and on Bones, the main character in Brennan's books is named Kathy Reichs.
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  • Avatar of DavesJerseyGirl

    DavesJerseyGirl

    [7]May 14, 2010
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    This is a quote from Publishers Weekly about Kathy Reichs book, Monday Mourning. If Brennan writes the same way that Reichs does, I think this would also apply to her novels as well.

    "What's best about Reichs, and often unappreciated in reviews, is not the informative detail that she brings to Tempe's forensic sleuthing, though that's certainly engrossing. It's the same well-observed detail and incisive analysis applied to other aspects of the story. Tempe deconstructs Ryan's every evasive gesture and casual comment and describes an ominously darkened room, the glow from a UV light and an armada of snow plows with vivid precision. Here, as previously, readers will be as invested in Tempe's life as in her case."
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  • Avatar of bearcatjb

    bearcatjb

    [8]May 14, 2010
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    Thanks Guys.
    It makes sense that Brennan would ask Angela to help with the social interaction stuff of her novels, but if Angela had to have input in every piece of dialogue and every scene of character interaction, then to some extent that makes her pretty much a co-writer.


    I understand, as DavesJerseyGirl wrote above, that Temperance Brennan was created by (or is based on) Kathy Reichs, who is herself a best selling author of a dozen best selling novels and is also a forensic anthropologist, but is Kathy Reichs as awkward in social situations as Brennan? Or was this aspect of Brennan's character/personality created for the show? (Does Reichs write fiction, or forensic textbooks?)


    If Brennan is able to write realistic and normal interactions for her characters, and write them well, then she should know how to behave in a less awkward manner around people, and indeed be aware of appropriate social interactions and more importantly, inappropriate social interactions. Meaning then, when she is being awkward, or undiplomatic, or brutally honest to the point of causing offence, then she is lying, this is not her true self. (As her charactersin her booksdon't interact in this way, she therefore is well aware she shouldn't interact in this way.)


    And that I can't accept. The awkward Brennan, is the Brennan with the big gun, the Brennan who is unaware what to say when a friend is hurting, the Brennan who is innocently (even naively) hurtful of others with her emotionless presentation of facts to people. She is the Brennan who Booth has to kick under the table, or cough softly, to get her to stop talking and be aware of the consequences of her words to others.


    It's this character that we love. It fits her that she would interview people in her office, which is 'decorated' with human skulls and other human remains, and be unaware of how inappropriate it is. (Though it has bothered me that people who have nothing to do with dead bodies or human bones, don't comment on her office when they enter, especially relatives of murder victims who would be most sensitive to the macabreness of it.)


    The socially awkward Brennan we love just can't be a good writer of normal social situations and human interactions, it just doesn't fit. She would need a lot of help in her writing, as she needs from Booth in the 'real' word.


    I'm sorry if I opened a can of worms.

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  • Avatar of jaynebosco

    jaynebosco

    [9]May 15, 2010
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    As somebody who is awkward socially, but does observe people as they go about their lives, I can see Tempe being a best-selling author of fiction. Most authors are often reclusive and not exactly social butterfly's themselves, at least from what I have read.

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  • Avatar of pinkybanana2

    pinkybanana2

    [10]May 15, 2010
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    jaynebosco wrote:


    As somebody who is awkward socially, but does observe people as they go about their lives, I can see Tempe being a best-selling author of fiction. Most authors are often reclusive and not exactly social butterfly's themselves, at least from what I have read.




    Being a writer, I gotta agree. Myself, and a lot of writer friends are introverted extroverts! A paradox, I know. Personally, I'm not socially awkward, but I am shy, and a smidge reclusive. Writing, by its very nature, is a lonely business.


    I do kinda agree with the OP though. Brennan is almost too awkward to write best-selling fiction. A writer must have an excellent understanding of people - however, as it's been clearly noted in the series, Brennan writes what she knows, even so far as basing her characters on those around her. Perhaps a lot of the more intimate scenes (I don't mean sexy time, but little intimacies in life) are based on what she has seen firsthand. She could paraphrase conversations she's witnessed in life, or write about things she's been involved with quite easily, and pass it off as fiction.



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  • Avatar of BarryWeen3

    BarryWeen3

    [11]May 15, 2010
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    pinkybanana2 wrote:

    jaynebosco wrote:


    As somebody who is awkward socially, but does observe people as they go about their lives, I can see Tempe being a best-selling author of fiction. Most authors are often reclusive and not exactly social butterfly's themselves, at least from what I have read.




    Being a writer, I gotta agree. Myself, and a lot of writer friends are introverted extroverts! A paradox, I know. Personally, I'm not socially awkward, but I am shy, and a smidge reclusive. Writing, by its very nature, is a lonely business.


    I do kinda agree with the OP though. Brennan is almost too awkward to write best-selling fiction. A writer must have an excellent understanding of people - however, as it's been clearly noted in the series, Brennan writes what she knows, even so far as basing her characters on those around her. Perhaps a lot of the more intimate scenes (I don't mean sexy time, but little intimacies in life) are based on what she has seen firsthand. She could paraphrase conversations she's witnessed in life, or write about things she's been involved with quite easily, and pass it off as fiction.





    Of course she could, consider what all her team members said about her first book when she kept denying that any of the characters in her book were based on her team members and Angela says "you know who you nailed dead on? The sexy FBI agent...", and Zach says he's not a virgin, and Hodgins says something also, which I've forgotten.

    So Brennan could take her personal observations and experiences and fictionalize them just like Agent McGee did over in NCIS for his best-selling book.
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  • Avatar of bearcatjb

    bearcatjb

    [12]May 17, 2010
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    The point for me is, does Brennan know what is appropriate social interactions and more importantly, inappropriate social interactions? And is she aware of it when she sees it?


    Even the most reclusive and solitary of writers, lacking in social skills, knows enough about what is appropriate and inappropriate in social interactions, knows enough about the psychology of human behaviour (something Brennan says she doesn't believe in), to be able to write about it correctly and so write/create believable characters interacting in a normal way with those around them.


    With Brennan we get the image of a person so caught up in her own world, that when she has to interact with the rest of the world, not only does she not know how to do it, but she nearly doesn't recognise it when sees it around her. Often she doesn't recognise her own awkward and inappropriate behaviour when she is being awkward and inappropriate.


    To simply observe those around her, and then mimic their behaviour in her writing thereby basing her characters on them, is just not enough to explain her writing great and successful novels. Firstly she has to be able to recognise the behaviour, the interactions of her colleagues, to translate it into words. But then, as well, she has to go beyond them in their workplace –beyond the range of her exposure to them- and describe their relationships to the world outside. This is the only way that they will appear as real people to a reader.


    If Brennan does not know what is appropriate or inappropriate social interacts, the socially awkward Brennan we love just can't be a good writer of normal social situations and human interactions. She would need a lot of help in her writing, as she needs from Booth in the 'real' word.


    Her characters' interactions with one another and with their world, is what will make them three-dimensional realistic people, and will in turn fulfil an important aspect of The Great Novel.

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