Honey, it ain’t all about you or why everyone thinks I’m writing about them …

I'm off to New York tomorrow for my niece's wedding. She's an actress and blogs at Barbie Kong. My younger niece will be there as well, she blogs at Tiny Canadian (nice, not so subtle plug for the blogging nieces!). So, for my newer bloggowers I'm doing another 'it's new to you post' and my regular, old time bloggowers will have forgotten they read this so it's new to them as well ;-j 

Before you get published you may spend a lot of time worrying that people in your life will think you are writing about them. Since publishing my novel, and a number of personal experience essays, I can give you one piece of advice – stop worrying - because everyone thinks you’re writing about them … all the time … your friends, your family, and the husband of a former colleague who made you Black Pudding once (we’ll get back to him). 

I’ve already told you about my childhood friend Sandy who phoned me in a tiff one day after reading an early draft of Dead Frog on the Porch and claimed that she was one character, I was the other character, and my character was picking on her character. My response: please refer back to the title of this blog post … Honey, it ain’t all about you.

Then there was my other childhood friend Jane who’s frog I accidently killed (the original dead frog on the porch) and I recounted the story of going to visit her and discovering that her house was a shrine to her dead frog. Parts of the story are set in the neighbourhood we grew up in, parts of the story are in her house, and parts aren’t. Is she a character? Is Sandy a character? Am I a character? … if I tell you that, who the heck will read my yet to be written and published memoirs?!

So that leads me to the story of Bill Kidd (true name, I can’t make this stuff up), or Billy the Kidd, as I, and others equally witty, have called him over the years. He’s the husband of a friend and former colleague, and he happened to be in the pub when we were brainstorming the plot of my second novel Dead Bird through the Cat Door

Since then Bill has claimed that he is one of the culprits in my story – Aviary Finch. Aviary is the owner of the bird sanctuary and he is killing birds (I know, right!?). Bill even refers to it as the book with his character.

Yes, he gave me some ideas. Yes, we were drinking pints of some sort of fermented Scottish beverage. Yes, like the culprit Bill is Scottish. Bill supplied me with all sorts of ideas of evil things the character can threaten the protags with – like Black Pudding, and pot pie cooked with baby birds. Then he invited me to his house and proceeded to cook me all sorts of Scottish delicacies like haggis and Black Pudding, and made me eat them (the suffering for my art never ends – but it was good research). And I’m all “where’s the deep fried Mars Bar?”

Is Bill, a mild mannered engineer by day, an evil/crazy antag by fictional illusion? Is Bill the character of Aviary Finch? Is Aviary Finch based on Bill? You’ll have to tune into this bat channel in a few weeks when the book is published, to find out.

Hey Bill, why all the bird seed in your pocket …?

Comments

Talli Roland said…
Haha! Hilarious!

I can't wait to hear what people think when they read my book. Particularly ex-boyfriends! Should be fun times...

Have fun in New York!
Anne R. Allen said…
I find it terribly funny when people think a wholly fictional character is based on them. Usually they're flattering themselves. When I do use a real person as a jumping off point for a character, the real person never seems to recognize himself.
Dawn said…
Great post - even the second time :-)
Jan Markley said…
Talli - that should be interesting especially if there is the ghost of an ex involved!
Anne - it is funny because it shows more about what they think of themselves based on which character they identify with! It's also funny that they don't recognize themselves in the characters that are based on them. Thanks Dawn - you're one of the olden timers bloggowers!
Angela Ackerman said…
Well I just finished your book and you totally wrote all about me before you even knew me, so there!

Or maybe it was some fictional character. Still.

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse
Jan Markley said…
I must have met you/your character in a dream before we actually met Angela! I hope you weren't the frog character in the opening scene!
LTM said…
so funny, Jan, and so true! I have a small group of local friends who like to read my MSs when they're done and inevitably they all start naming who's who... and I'm like guys! It's fiction! They're all made up...

sigh. There's no stopping it. :D good stuff~ Have fun on your trip!
Jan Markley said…
Hi Leigh, LOL, yes there is no stopping people from thinking we're writing about them!

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