For editors, for digital savants, for connoisseurs of scent, for kind hearts around the world, for book clubs, and for this thing we call the Internet.
The places we go, the people we meet, the perfectly wonderful communities we build…online.
My editor sent me this:
Faulks on Fiction: Great British Characters and the Secret Life of the Novel
The paragraph made me laugh aloud, because there is an expectation from readers of a kind of personal knowledge that is the fact behind fiction.
Mr. Faulks argues for the opposite. He asserts that fiction is largely invention and that readers are frightened “to think writers can conjure people, scenes and feelings from a void.” Here’s the crux of his argument, “By assuming that all works of art are an expression of their authors’ personality, the biographical critics reduced the act of creation to a sideshow.”
I’m going to take a little detour here and talk about my encounters with readers in book clubs — one on one book critics. Mr. Faulks (whom I respect deeply) and I have a difference of opinion. When the conversation turns to how personally the readers in a book club take the story, or if they assume my experiences informed the narrative, I find that wonderful. If they then relate how a character resembles a person they know, even better. To me that means they found the emotional truth in the fiction. As Sebastian Faulks points out, most novelists make stuff up, but the aim is to make it seem true.
So, Sebastian (forgive the informality) give thanks — your fiction is so transcendent, so transforming, you can now be considered a 105 year-old woman with secret letters in an attic that doesn’t exist. Well done!
Getting back to me, my novel, and what I’m thankful for… With a little Hollywood magic one can assume (based on my work) that I’m twenty years younger than I am, sleeping with a blue-eyed Adonis, and living next door to the Jolie-Pitts. I’ll take it 😉 .
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, & incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.