Writing About Writers

Posted: July 9, 2014 in Self-publishing
Tags: , , , ,

I always had a problem with writers who cast their main characters in the role of Author. Even when I was a kid and my writing experience was limited to filling in those maddeningly tiny bubbles on the Scantron sheet of the middle school exam du jour, I balked at risking my time (but not my money; Mom’s bookshelf and the ol’ library card made books free) on any novel beginning with the phrase, “Aspiring novelist Bob Smith awoke and… .” I just instantly knew I wouldn’t be able to relate. So I’d tighten the Velcro on my Zips, mosey on over to the non-fiction section and check out yet another baseball book. Usually something with lots of black-and-white photos in it.

Tastes change, of course. I eventually swapped my Zips for Vans and my picture-laden baseball books for ones heavier on the text. “Choose Your Own Adventure” paperbacks were all the rage right around that time, and I indulged in my share of those, too (and just like you, I cheated). Somewhere between the time I realized not all baseball players are heroes and not all girls are gross, I discovered the (up to that point) collected works of one Stephen King.

[Insert lightbulb-over-head emoji here.]

A lot of Mr. King’s main characters are writers. A lot of them. And for the first time in my life, I connected the author with the work. Ya see, it turns out that books and short stories and essays and Constitutions and technical manuals and graffitied walls are not (I repeat, not) singularities that wink into existence the second someone opens a book cover or a restroom stall. It just so happens that (most) writers of everything from epic poetry to corporate tweets pour their hearts (and the rest of themselves) into their craft. Sadly, it took me about halfway into my second (chronologically, anyway) novel to realize that.

The Transience of Youth (working title, Summer — that still cracks me up) ended up being a pseudo-quasi-at-arm’s-length semi-autobiographical account of what made me a writer. Coincidentally, the main character is a writer. So I formally apologize to every author of writer-driven fiction whose work I shunned in my adolescence. I just didn’t get it.

TransienceOriginal

 

 

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