Yikes! Why don’t you just strip off all my clothes and parade me through the mall on Christmas Eve? A true story? What’s in my book? My NOVEL? Did these things happen to me? Do I honestly think that way? Do I know someone as evil as the antagonist?
Gulp. It’s fiction. FICTION!
Oh, why am I shouting in print? Not because I’m angry, but because I’m UNCOMFORTABLE. Want a fun sport? Ask any non-memoir author about the truth in their book just to see them squirm.
See, we writers are an odd mix of “hey, look at me!” and “I’m so private, I hide in my room all day writing down stuff I pretend only I will see.” We want to be read, we long for our words to be understood and meaningful, but we also like hiding behind those words.
We fill our books with all sorts of truths, but call them fiction. I’ve just completed an YA paranormal called DRAWN about an artist who channels a very hot ghost through her drawings. This is, of course, a completely TRUE story.
The real truth is (and, remember, this is coming from someone who belongs to the Liars Club) that if you read any book, you are, in fact entering the writer’s mind. You’ll hear her voice, you’ll understand her attitudes, you’ll glimpse bits and pieces of experiences and people she has encountered. But it’s a mash up. Cut and paste, mix and twirl, spin and zing. We have tremendous fun with all this.
We expose ourselves. And our lives. But not really.
So is this book a true story?