How are you?
Let's put this to bed. Excuse the terrible pun. As we analyze the dirty novel.
|Disgusting! The writer must be a pervert|
Fiction. How much is it about the writer and how much is made up?
I've had this question posed to me several times, through genuine interest. And I've had others make direct assertions that my books, Lone Wolf World, and Perve, must be about my life, and/or my views.
It's a fair enough question. Though making assumptions without asking or investigating shows a lack of insight. If this were true, then J.K. Rowling is stuck in her school years living some magical fantasy. And Stephen King must be the sickest person on the planet. Best to lock him up. Same with Clive Barker and many other horror/sci-fi/literary and even erotica writers. (That 50 Shades author is definitely a perve).
While I can't speak for all, I can speak for me and I suspect it's similiar for many writers.
|That sick bastard|
1. A writer does draw on their own experiences, particularly for their early works when they are still crafting their skills.
2. A writer draws on what they see and read. Personally, I've been inspired by events I've heard of, read about etc. While some may copy those exact situations, for me, I imagine a 'what if' scenario. Take it that step/s further.
3. Some of the writer's own views can end up in their books. A character may represent them. It's possible. However, what may end up in the work is not beliefs or opinions, but a writer's likes or behaviors. Eg, the character drinks tea at night or hates crowds or is into oral sex (Perve) or loves trees.
4. A good writer of fiction will make up characters and story that has nothing to do with how they think. It's using their imagination, the writer's greatest strength. To suggest that a particular character, situation or train of thought must be the writer's, is simply false.
|I wrote my novel about a serial killer on a wall,|
then went and killed a bunch of people.
5. It is true that writer's will at some point, 'write what they know.' For example, my first book, Bottomless River, (available as a free download or book), was based on my years growing up in the country. Some of that book was true. Other parts were made up.
6. My personal goal as a writer is to imbue it with truth. Universal truth. Characters should speak and act in ways that feel completely real. If a reader thinks it must be based on a real person, that's a compliment. For me, if I create a realistic character, then how those characters think will drive how they act. And how they act will drive what takes place, ie the narrative. Sometimes, they completely surprise me. I end up in places that I had no idea was coming. For me, this is the best way to make the story feel as real as possible.
7. I'm often shocked/disappointed when I read or watch in a film, a character acting in a way that's not in their personality. To me, this is weak writing. I'm not suggesting I'm better than some well known writers or films, but it is a flaw. The Girl on the Train was a perfect example of a writer coming up with a character, in this case, an alcoholic, that they had no personal experience with. It was full of false notes and inconsistencies. As a long time booze hound, I know that alcoholics don't behave that way.
Another great example was when the book A Million Little Pieces by James Frey came out. Lauded by critics and Oprah and others, I was barely a quarter of the way into reading it when it was clear that the writer was full of shit. I stopped reading. It later eventuated that it wasn't based on his life, but made up. He got caught out. The fact that so many took it as real, including publishers, was embarrassing. And if publishers can't see it, how can they possibly see when something is genuine?
|Despite being a giant FRAUD, his career continues to flourish. Shitbag. Shit writer.|
The answer to the original question is both. It's partly the writer but mostly made up. I don't believe this question would get levelled at filmmakers so it's interesting that it's oft applied to authors.
The novel or story is either completely made up, or it could be based on a real life story from the news, or that the writer overheard or that they researched and used a real person from history. It could be a part of themselves but not all. It could be a family member or personal incident. Generally it's a mix of many things, regurgitated in a creative fashion.
If people assume it's me, I'll take that as a fact that the writing works. When people assume it's me when they haven't read a word, then that says everything about them and nothing about the writer.
|I was lying. I'm really just a weird sicko terrorist in waiting.|
My Sick Books
Would love to hear your thoughts. Have you ever read a book that you thought was false? Or that the story was really about the writer?
Have a great week.