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Understand your characters, be true to their real world counterparts

I want to read a book about a magician, gambler, mathematician, computer scientist, or carny that isn't full of trite sensationalism. I am in my late 20s, and when I was younger (high school an earlier) I hated to read fiction, opting instead for history or technical books. However, somewhere in college I discovered the right fiction can be fun too. And I gravitated towards reading every novel I could find about magicians. (I have always been an amateur magician.) And so many of those books were the same trite boilerplate characterizations of magicians as wizards or as con-man that it almost ruined fiction for me all over again. And then the novel "Carter Beats the Devil" by Glenn David Gold was published, and it was different. It was not only first class fiction, but started to get at the mindset of a magician the way they view themselves - as skilled artists and showmen. Another book "The Prestige" by Christopher Priest, which was later made into a movie, also gets closer to this view of a magician as a tinkerer, inventor, artist, showman, etc rather than falling into the "wizard" or "con-man" paradigms. In much the same way gamblers are often mis-portrayed in novels, regardless of the huge number of novels about Las Vegas or various types of gambling. The same would go for mathematicians and computer scientist, not to mention the oh so overused ridiculous media & hollywood portrayal of "computer hackers." Basically, I guess what I am really saying is regardless of the type of characters in your novel it would be wise to understand their real world counterparts and how they view themselves in order to best understand how to portray them best fictionally. Did that make any sense? I hope it helps.

4 years ago
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