“This is a work of fiction … and yet …”
I first came across this sentence in a Sidney Sheldon book of my mother’s that I started to read when no-one was looking. Even as a kid I found the insinuation delicious, the idea that fiction was not the entire story for this author, that weaving around the tales of raging angels and divine windmills were the author’s own experiences, suggesting as it did that – just as I was discovering with truth – there was no absolute fiction.
I have carried this phrase in to my adult life, considering it with everything I write. Any fiction I’ve created inevitably contains a trail of breadcrumbs that lead straight back to me, even when – as with my old friend Sidney – the story involves people living out their lives on a grandiose scale. A few years ago, the connection became explicit, when in trying to make sense of a failed love affair, I hit upon a story idea that borrowed liberally from my recent experiences. I wanted to start with real events and move toward an entirely fictional climax. Specifically, I intended to kill off the paramour in the story, and use my grieving narrator to explore the loss of a lover in unambiguous terms – whilst I as the ‘real’ storyteller continued to grapple with a loss that was not so easily defined.
Books gestating as they do (and would-be authors finding every excuse not to dedicate themselves to their craft – oh, that’s just me!), my story Loved has remained no more than a series of vignettes these past few years, whilst the relationship that inspired it continuously found new ways to flourish – a complete inversion of my intentions in fact. This blog is therefore my conscious effort to draw the dots between the real and the fictional so that it is finally the fiction that flourishes (and yes the relationship has finally been put to bed).
Most entries will be excerpts from Loved – a novel in progress if you will. But some will be my own diary entries, emails, letters and thoughts. The intention is that you won’t be able to tell the difference (or mind when you can), that the fiction and the ‘and yet’ will compliment each other and push the novel forward … and potentially take the story in some interesting new directions along the way …
Note: Any reference to a specific name or specific event will be firmly in the fiction not the ‘and yet’ category unless I am quoting a source. Some influences remain necessarily unseen 😉