Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Starring Me as the MC (or A Novel Identity Crisis!)

Tip of the Day: Comment today -- and all week! -- for a chance to win Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman. See Kate's Monday post for the rules!

Doesn't this

get you in the mood for this? (I love the detail of the kissing couple inside the circle! Get close and check it out.)

As writers, we are often asked of our work, "Is this story based on real life?"

The answer for my first novel ever written is, "Well, kind of, but I changed enough details to make it so it wasn't like my life."

In other words, I took a scenario I was familiar with from real life but changed:

1) the characters' ages

2) the characters' backgrounds

3) the characters' jobs

4) the characters' reactions to the situation

in order to make it "fiction" and not like I was writing a memoir, and to "force" me to create characters and scenarios instead of rehashing a sort of truth.

But now as I reevaluate that novel with thoughts of a major overhaul, I realize that in going so out of my way to make it NOT my life, I lost the essence of the story that WAS my life; the essence that would drive the story; that which inspired me to write it to begin with.

The painful reactions of a sister pulling away, the joyous revelations of a new boyfriend, the authentic VOICE that I scrapped bc I was afraid it was MY voice, not my MC's voice.

In some cases it's OK to use "your" voice as you write. It's in your head for a reason and as long as your character speaks and acts in a way that is true for her given the situation, it's OK for her to act like you would -- or how you as the author would want to act.

When I get around to revising this book, it still won't be anything close to a memoir, but the MC's voice will be a bit closer to the truth and I think that's a good thing.

I hope this make sense. This revelation just came to me and I'm still pondering it but think I'm getting somewhere....

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

1 comment:

Kate Fall said...

I'm nodding my head yes as I read this. I don't want to get hung up in the rules of plot building and forget why I was originally inspired to write a particular story. We change so much on revision but we need to keep that spark of us-ness in there.