Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Warning to friends: beware of writer

A writer friend of mine has a T-shirt that reads, “Careful or you’ll end up in my novel.”

Every author ought to wear such a shirt to warn their friends of the dangers of associating with a writer. For the most part we sit at our computers and make stuff up, but sometimes a tiny little piece of what we write is truth cloaked as fiction.

We novelists sometimes are inspired by people we know and fictionalize tidbits in our books. Years ago I met a woman with a unique name, far too unusual for me to use directly, but I have used a rhyming version.

The quirkier your trait or habit is, the more likely we’ll assign it to a character. Both my mother-in-law and a sister-in-law have inspired short stories (not the erotic ones!) Sometimes we take it one step further -- many an author has killed off a real-life nemesis in the pages or his or her novel. Borrowing from our friends and enemies is one of the weird things we authors do.

But not the only odd thing. We have a lot of strange habits, among them:

  • We talk about our characters as if they’re real people we know

  • We eavesdrop on conversations these characters have

  • We cry with our characters’ sorrows – sorrows we inflicted – and smile when they’re happy, laugh when they’re amused

  • We live two parallel lives – one in the real world with all the normal people – and one in our heads where we weave our imaginations into tangible objects called books

  • We hoard words, snippets of conversations, names that catch our fancy, odd little news items to use at some future date

  • We scare our friends and family – and secretly like it that way!

Cara Bristol is the author of Black Velvet Seductions’ Intimate Submission and Secret Desires, and Loose Id's Unexpected Consequences to be released September 20. She currently is writing a cougar story called Reckless in Moonlight.

1 comment:

Savanna Kougar said...

Cara, so right on the mark! I am guilty as charged, especially knocking off, or having something worse happen to 'those' who done me wrong. Quite cathartic. And a form of poetic justice. ~smiles~