Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Melissa Marr | Secret Passages & Mirrors? Not So Much.

December 11, 2007
As a writer, I’ve found the misconceptions about writing fascinating. Now, as a rule, I don’t tell people what I do, but somehow or another it almost always eventually comes out–at which point there are several typical responses.

1. “Who’d you know? You have to know someone to sell a book.”– This is utterly false. I wrote a book, researched agents, queried, wrote another book, queried some more, signed with an agent who shopped my book. Then I accepted an offer. There were no secret passageways, networking, muttered passwords, or any of those things. No tricks. Write, research, repeat as needed. It’s pretty straight-forward.

2. “Who are you in the book?”– I’ve been astounded by how many people ask this. I write multiple points of view, so there are various guesses. Ash likes photography, so do I . . . so maybe she’s “me.” Hmm. I have friends who like photography too, but I’m not them either. Having an interest in common with a character isn’t being that character. Those commonalities help me write the characters, but each character has something of my beliefs or interests or ant-interest or anti-beliefs. It’s an exercise in adding veracity, not a mirror into the author.

3. “Ok, but am I in the book? Or will I be in the next one?”– I’m sorry, but no. You’re alive; they’re fiction. I’m aware that some authors do this, but I’m not at ease with any conscious insertion of real-world people into my texts. It feels uncomfortable to me. In retrospect, I sometimes see traits of people I have known. These aren’t intentional on part when they do happen. My fave example is that a person I dated 14 years ago had a shoulder tattoo that I ended up giving a minor character in Wicked Lovely. I didn’t do this deliberately, but after the fact, I realized that this tattoo had impressed on my memory and was in text. The character has no similarity to the real person beyond the tattoo. Little bits of life swirl in our memories and end up on the page, but again, there’s no mirrors.

I love my job. Spinning out stories is exciting to me. Sometimes, though, the misconceptions are as interesting as the fiction itself. Secret passwords, hidden versions of people, and identification games–this is exciting stuff . . . but a sort of fiction as well.

No Comments

Comments are closed.