...because fiction is our greatest escape from reality...

Real To Me

“When a writer talks about his work, he’s talking about a love affair.”
  Alfred Kazin

Such a true statement.  Have you ever gone off about your story and at some point realized you sound like you’re talking about real people and real events? I’ve actually had non-writer friends stare at me in amazement and point out that even I sound like I believe they’re real.

In a sense, I do. 

And that’s impossible to explain to them.  They’ll never get it.  Never.

We spend an extraordinary amount of time getting to know these people who come to us.  We dig deep into their emotions, learn their childhood events and experience the current struggles with them.  To me, this is a normal thing.

To the non-writers around me, I’m a strange, strange bird. (Yeah, I’ve given up on trying to fit in with the non-writer/publishing crowds.)

But very recently, I went off about my book–the one that’s making the rounds with publishers, not my current WIP.  I mean really went off.  I was talking about some of the funny parts and heart breaking parts and one of my friends broke in and pointed out that it sounded like I missed the characters.  Like I was grieving for them.

She said that was weird. 

Yeah, maybe.  But I’m pretty comfortable with weird these days. 😉

Later that night, I kept replaying her words in my head and realized she’s right.  I am grieving and a lot of the heavy disappointment I’m feeling these days is coming from the longtime wish, or hope, that someone else will love this world I made.  That they, like me, will see that there is sooo much more to stories of Beri, Blythe, Nikolos and the others. 

In order for these books to feel real for us, we have to invest a lot of time and attention to the characters.  Then we send them out and hope someone else feels the same way.

I did get that last year when my agent called to say she wanted to work with me.  I had two great agents interested at that time and I ended up picking Miriam because of her response when I asked her if she loved the book.  She let me know in no uncertain terms. Damn, that was cool. <g>

I recently shared an excerpt at the Dames site and the enthusiastic response from readers felt pretty good, too.  I’m aware there will be plenty who don’t fall for my world, that my every writing flaw will be on display for the masses, but you know what?  There will be others who dig it and I’m looking forward to hearing from them. 🙂


  1. May 11, 2009    

    It’s true, we do invest so much in the characters we write, because we created them. From nothing. From unconnected words to people who live, die, laugh and hurt on the page. I talk about my characters in my WIP with my CPs all the time, and sometimes they’ll debate me on whether my MC would really have done or said something I’d had her do/say, as if she really exists other than in my head. We do this a lot on long walks around the neighborhood, and I can only imagine what the people who overhear snippets of our conversations must think 😉

    Still crossing my fingers for you; I can’t wait to read about the world you made when it’s published!

  2. May 11, 2009    

    I love that world, and Beri and Blythe and Phro. I so want everyone else to fall into that too. Just like I love Tali, Mumsie and the kids and I’m ready to do another of those plus I haven’t been working as closely with Ande as I want to and I miss her. I don’t think we create characters we don’t want to live with, except maybe a nasty demon or two, but most of our bad guys are people we understand. They become family in a way, dysfunctional, but who doesn’t have dysfunctional family in their lives.

  3. Heather Dearly Heather Dearly
    May 11, 2009    

    I hope to reread Dweller on a Kindle someday. I don’t have one yet, but I’m dreaming big for the both of us. 😉

  4. May 12, 2009    

    They are real. They people worlds we’ve created and we live with them in those worlds, laughing, crying, loving and dying right along with them.

    I understand wanting to share those worlds and those characters with others. I believe you will get those opportunities (plural because it will be through many books). I believe in you.


  5. May 12, 2009    

    I’m totally with you on the realism of our characters. I actually spend most of my day with all mine. Hell, they’re with me more than anyone else…is that sad?

    I’ve recently gone through a grieving (sorta) period for one of my fallen characters. It was necessary for the story and a predetermined death, but that didn’t make it any easier. When I wrote the scene and chose a particular song for her (or him), I actually cried. She wasn’t a main character, in so many words, but she was real to me and my main character (who, consequently enough, also had a little cry). But I could never explain that to my friends or family…they’d think I jumped off the deep end with laptop in hand.

    That’s why its so great (for me at east) to participate and interact with other writers. I’ll be on submission soon (hopefully) and I feel the same way about my novel’s world. Good luck in all your future endeavors, Rinda. You have one of the best agents on the market. I long to be among her personal arsenal.

  6. May 17, 2009    

    When I write fiction, the characters become so real that they seem autonomous at times. It’s strange what the imagination can do, huh.

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