Month: November 2009 Page 1 of 3

Fiction: "more true than real life"

The other day, Barbara Samuel at Writer Unboxed wrote a very eloquent post about “The Intersection of Truth and Fiction.”

Every story a writer composes somehow emerges from the writer. But where to draw the line between truth and fiction might be hard to distinguish. I am not a character. The character is herself. Some of my experiences lend verisimilitude, perhaps, but mostly, I’m cobbling together bits of this and pieces of that, gathering anything and everything that might be helpful to create a sense of a whole world for a reader.

I find this especially relevant as I freak out calmly prepare my synopsis and finalize the manuscript of Twenty-Somewhere for submission to JJ and St. Martin’s Press.

Anyone who knows me knows that 20SW draws from my personal experiences, and that a few of the characters are inspired by people I know in real life (with their permission). But sometimes I get frustrated because people think 20SW is real, and it’s not. (If it were, I’d just blog about it!) I put a lot of thought and time into crafting these young women, their world, and their stories. And then I write thousands of words to support that. Hence: fiction.

And I write fiction because…

The most pleasurable part of writing for me is that weaving of truth and lies to create something that is more true than real life.

Now, I’m not saying 20SW is Serious Life Changing Literature, but I do think 20SW addresses real issues that twenty-somethings face, hopefully in a fun but still valuable way.


What’s real, and what’s not? Only the writer ever really knows for sure. And even then, I’m not sure we always know.

My 2009 Turkey Day list

I’m going to cop out a bit and instead of writing a full-on sappy post for Thanksgiving (like moonrat and Jamie Ford did) I’m just going to list a few of the things I am thankful for this year.

  • First and foremost, the health and happiness of my loved ones
  • Second, the delicious Thanksgiving feast digesting in my tummy right now
  • My good friend getting the job she’s been after
  • My other good friend getting the fellowship she’s been after
  • New Moon / Girls Night with my coworkers
  • Being one of the 18 winners of the St. Martin’s “New Adult” contest

(Next steps are that I submit Twenty-Somewhere to the St. Martin’s Press team to see if they are interested in publishing it…!!!)

  • And last but not least, all the amazing people I’ve met through blogging

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. I wish all the best to you and yours.

Rachel Is

Please take a moment to check out this moving trailer for the documentary by Charlotte Glynn called “Rachel Is.”

Jane, the mother in this documentary, was one of my creative writing professors at Carnegie Mellon University, one of my favorites in fact, and I’d like to think she’s my friend. I made a point of not reading any of the work of my professors while I was taking their classes, because I didn’t want to color my opinion of their teaching. After I graduated, I finally and happily let myself read Jane’s memoir Bereft: A Sister’s Story, which recounted her sister’s murder and its effects on herself and her family. It’s a sad subject, to be sure, but Jane’s writing was beautiful and her journey profound. I can only imagine how that gift for storytelling and evoking emotions was transmitted to her daughter, and translated into film.

Jane has also written about Rachel, in Loving Rachel: A Family’s Journey from Grief and Rachel in the World. I haven’t read them yet, but I plan to. I can only imagine that they are as genuine and lovely as Jane herself.

(Cross posted at Just Between Us.)

Lamest post of lameness ever

Um, so, I’m in Vegas right now, meaning I can’t really blog. Andy and I flew out to meet my parents (and then tomorrow my two half-sisters are joining us) to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday (yesterday) and my 24th (tomorrow). So I guess I’ll see you on Monday? :P

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Frustration vs. discouragement

Several weeks ago, my dad mentioned that he’d read some things on my blog which led him to believe that I was feeling discouraged. That statement bothered me a lot, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. Until now.

You see, I wasn’t discouraged, I was frustrated, and there’s a big difference between those two, at least in my mind.

Frustrated means “WAAAHHH. Why doesn’t anyone understand? Why aren’t things going my way? I just want this to be easier!”

Discouraged means, “I’m not sure I want to do this anymore…”

I imagine that any life path, not just writing, involves a good deal of frustration. There are always setbacks and obstacles that you weren’t expecting and have to overcome. They’re annoying, sure, but there’s no doubt in your mind that you are going to overcome them, because that’s just what you have to do to continue on your desired path.

Discouragement, on the other hand, is when you get to one of those hurdles, and you don’t really feel like jumping. Because you’re no longer sure that your path continues on the other side, or that you’ll ever reach the end, or that you even want to anymore.

For the record, I have never been discouraged about my writing. Frustrated like hell, certainly, but never ever discouraged.

(And why not? Because I have people, like my dad, and my mom, and my friends, and all of y’all, who believe in me. Who support me. Who get me fired up when I’m running low on fuel, who cheer me up when I’m feeling stressed. So, thank you. Someday my books will be on shelves all around the world, and I’ll owe as much of that to y’all as to myself. Truly.)

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