Monday, July 2, 2012

No Peeing in Fiction

I think one of the reasons that fiction is fiction, is because in fiction no one ever goes to the bathroom.

One of the things that struck me about Curt Benjamin's Seven Brothers trilogy (which in the way of fantasy trilogies is actually four books) is that every couple chapters, the main character would wake up in a tent somewhere and have to pee. Which he did. It was a just a sentence or two, but it added a touch of reality to a fantasy story.

Unfortunately, it was kind of boring. I mean, the reason that very few people in fiction ever have to pee is that it's not very interesting. You go in, do your business, and that's it. Even devoting a couple sentences to peeing or whatever can slip a tad of doubt into the reader's mind- "Really? We're interrupting saving the world to take a piss? I just assume every once in a while the characters go behind a tree or something."

I'm not particularly grossed out by bodily functions- I'm in the middle of potty training a toddler, so nothing icks me out anymore-, it's just that while they're important in real life, they're not really in fiction. Unless you're writing erotica, in which case there are a couple bodily functions that could be important to your story. Maybe if you were writing about a pregnant woman, peeing and vomiting would be important because you have to do it constantly when you are pregnant, but that's about it.

So no, people in my stories don't pee. I hope you can live with that.

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