Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Channeling my College

So, the key to bulking up the word count in this story has proven to be recounting a million memories from my undergraduate years.  I've gone into great detail discussing the physical campus, the menu, my very first roommate, and a variety of characteristics of characters which are based directly on my friends from college.
I'm not sure if this is a good idea since my main character already shares so many of my own personal characteristics and I know that randomly changing the names of people and places doesn't make it any less true to my past.
However, as I said, it's allowing me to write many, many words and since that is the number one goal of this project I am determined not to judge it too harshly.
It does make me wonder, however, if this is sort-of breaking the rules.  I don't know enough about fiction to know if most of it is based on fact.  I would imagine that a lot of it is but I always imagined that there was enough fantasy that you wouldn't ever doubt whether or not it was truly fiction.
In this story, my main character isn't totally me because I never did what she's doing and what is the main focus of the story's plot.  However, as I've said, she acts like me, thinks like me, talks like me, and has all of my old insecurities.  She's in my college.  (Even though I changed the name and set it in the Berkshire mountains rather than the Green ones it's still my college.)  She has many of my friends regardless of how I've changed their names or other facts about them.  And I even gave her my favorite stuffed animal.  (Granted, I didn't have Mooby in college, but still- it's him.)
So with so much of her being undeniably me it leaves me wondering if I'm crossing some sort-of line that smarter, more experienced writers don't cross because they know better than I do.
Any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Saying nothing about NaNo (because it's the kindest thing I can say), plenty of writers have taken traits and instants from life and transposed them to fiction. Philip Roth was one of the most popular American literary writers for decades and he projected himself like a motherfucker. It's typical of the modern writer to have a main character who a) had a similar tragedy or b) has a similar line of work. It happens. The big question is whether or not the resulting fiction would be worthwhile. If it's worthwhile and this book is for you, then Godspeed, Bev!


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