Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Non-fiction in Fiction Part 1

Sue Miller in “Virtual Reality: The Perils of Seeking a Novelist’s Facts in Her Fiction” says:

The fact is, you can make a good story of anything, anything at
all. What’s hard – what’s interesting about a story is not so
much the thing that’s in it, but what’s made of that thing. And
then, of course, the making itself. But there is no necessary life
to have lived or scene to have witnessed. No experiential sine
qua non.

We live in a time of non-fictional writing. People too often want to know where a story came from, what event in our lives, or from what person in our lives. When I was at a writer’s conference a couple of years ago, the first agent I met with asked me, “Why are you the person to write this book?” I wanted to yell out, “Because it’s my story and my imagination!” Instead I told her how the story was based on the events that happened to my father. However, my father will have a real hard time seeing himself in the character of Michael Jameson. Michael isn’t my dad. Michael is from somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind, as is Judd Simmons, the main villain of the story. The main event is based on something that really happened, but it’s all fiction. It’s from my imagination, which I believe is where true art is found.

We’ll continue this discussion tomorrow.
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