Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Making Up is Hard To Do

I ran into an old friend at the dairy-mart the other day. We caught up in that way you do when you try cramming ten years of living into a fifteen minute window - covering the typical mini-topics: marriage, divorce, kids, school, work and the weather. "So you write fiction?" she said, only half a question. I heard her turning it over in her mind. And I knew what she was thinking. Loosely translated, what she meant to say was,
"So you earn a living making things up?"
Well, technically speaking - yes. And no.
Fiction is the land of make believe. This no writer can deny. But it's grounded in reality, in the life experiences of ourselves and others, seasoned with a generous portion of creative license. You have to be well-organized to be a fiction writer. Note cards help. It can be tough to keep the facts straight when they aren't actually facts. The trick is to convince yourself that your story isn't make believe at all. It's as real as pretend can ever be. Even if you're writing fantasy, dystopian, vampires and/or zombies. If your goal is to have your reader become fully engaged... then they're all real. Easy, right? Not so much. My dear old friend went on,
"Aren't all the original ideas already taken?"
Well, technically speaking - yes and no. I mean, sure its been said that there are only seven basic story plots in literature. But every writer worth his salt will take one of those plot lines and twist the beejeezus out of it until it smacks of originality. Easy right?
Not so much. Yet it's this challenge that drives us, that keeps the whole ball of wax stuck together. Like any good modern relationship - it's a love-hate thing. Like breaking up and making up. It's a living.

PS - Congrats to our two latest winners - Michael and Mary who received e-copies of WISHLESS. Please, please stick around. More contests are just around the bend.


  1. Sometimes I think if my family doesn't do something cute or funny, I may have to start making things up, too. But they always seem to come through. Enjoyed your post.

  2. That's so true! Thanks for dropping by Linda :)

  3. Great post! It is always interesting to hear what people think about writing when I run into someone or talk to someone at a party. You are right when you say that writers make make believe as real as it could ever be. Love that!