1. slippingbeauty
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    slippingbeauty Member

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    Writing can get personal, how do I answer questions about my novel?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by slippingbeauty, Sep 10, 2011.

    My newest novel is about a break up and Im worried that my boyfriend will read it and be scared that Im going to break up with him... What should I say when people ask me why I wrote about a break up?:/ Also Im always writing in a very depressive way and it doesnt mean that I am depressed I just like writing that way, how can I explain that to people? How do I distance myself from what everybody thinks about what is really personal to me? I mean I never write autobiographical but what I write is still a big part of me... I appreciate replies:)
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Just say you like writing that way?
    People should understand that sometimes writing has nothing to do with your real life. It could just something you felt like exploring or writing about. Your boyfriend should be able to understand that pretty easily.
    I mean, I write about fantasy and stuff, but it doesn't mean I want to be in the situation my characters are in, does it now ;)?

    Hope that helped~
     
  3. slippingbeauty
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    slippingbeauty Member

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    hehe thanks Youniquee I guess I can just compare it to fantasy novels:p
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't answer. The only answer you need give is, "I write fiction."

    Your boyfriend's insecurity is a problem unrelated to your writing. It is something he needs to deal with himself.

    Don't get into the habit of defending your writing. It will shackle you if you do.
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Just answer honestly. Explain what interested you about the ideas, how you followed them, squeezed out a story from them.
     
  6. slippingbeauty
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    slippingbeauty Member

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    Thanks for the support guys:) I just feel people get unsecure sometimes cause they dont understand what I write or my other art
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I had a similar issue in the past. I like to write dark stories, in large part. Not all of them are that way, but a significant number are. And I, myself, am a very optimistic, cheerful, and nice person. So back when I first started letting people read my stuff I had some reactions that were strange. On friend who I'd sent a short story too called me late one night because she wanted to check and see if I was depressed (I was not). She said "this doesn't sound like you." I said "It's not, it's a fictional story."

    At any rate, over time people became cool with the idea of the stories and realized that I was the same person and that the subject matter of the fiction did not impact that. So my suggestion is to continue doing what you do, and over time people around you will get to know you better and more easily separate the subject matter of the writing from you as an individual. Those who already know you very well might be surprised, initially, by your writing, but for them it shouldn't have any lasting impact of their perception of you.
     
  8. slippingbeauty
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    slippingbeauty Member

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    Cool I will just keep going then and hopefully they will get used to it and become more comfortable with it! Thanks alot Steerpike:)
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was just about to say what Cogito said, tell your boyfriend you're writing fiction and not an autobiography, he must understand that what you write doesn't need to have any connection to your personal life.
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    My main character's mother is a guilt-tripping, passive-aggressive, overbearing lady who wants to force her daughter to be preppy and mainstream when that's not who her daughter is. My own mother, in real life, is the polar opposite of that - non-intrusive, non-overbearing, loves and supports me no matter what I turn out like (as long as I'm not rude, hurting anyone etc). She was like that through my entire childhood, and now that I'm an adult we are best friends.

    I let her read the first few chapters of my manuscript, and never once did she worry about whether my MC's mom was similar to the way I saw her [my mom]. But, if she were to have asked about it, I'd have just reassured her that she's not like that at all but my MC's mom has to be that way for the sake of the plot.

    Your writing does not automatically equal a diary of your thoughts about your own life. If you're worried about your boyfriend getting the wrong idea, you could let him know before letting him read it that your MC and her boyfriend have a lot of drama, but things are perfectly fine between the two of you.
     
  11. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    Nuff said.

    If people have an issue with what you write simply because it sounds like it may be too close to home, then the problem is theirs, not yours.
     
  12. slippingbeauty
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    slippingbeauty Member

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    Yeah I see what u mean Mallory! Thanks guys:)
     
  13. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    Hi Slipping! I've got a similar problem. Whenever I write about a character's mother, my mother insists I've written about her. True, mothers in my stories are sometimes problematic, but oftentimes not. And while I do sometimes borrow attributes from real-life people, these only make up a portion of who that character is. Still, she cannot read one of my mothers without reading herself into the character.

    I don't like it, and I admit I sometimes have to shake myself out of a state of inhibition caused by it. But it is her problem. There's nothing I can do about her insecurity except to tell her that a given mother isn't her. I certainly can't stop writing about mothers! What else would I write about?! :)

    You could remind your boyfriend about popular music artists who write song after song about lost love, angry love, cheating love, jealous love, etc, while involved in serious, even happy, relationships themselves. Sometimes they write from past experience. Sometimes they make stuff up. That's what artists do.
     
  14. A J Jaafari
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    A J Jaafari Member

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    I saw I might run into something like this, so I headed it off at the pass. I used my sister's name for a character (it seemed fitting because I needed a ship's captain, and she was in the Navy) but I made it clear to her that the character was not supposed to be her. She got it, as far as I could tell.

    It can be tough if you're not surrounded by other creative types. As Topeka Sal pointed out, artists make things up, and other artists will often understand that it's a story not a journal. Hm. Perhaps that's a good answer. Since I write fantasy, it's pretty easy to see that I'm inventing a world instead of writing about the one I live in, but I would hope that even plain fiction would carry that implication with it.

    A J
     
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  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I've had this come up a few times over the years when my wife reads what I write. I had written a novel in the first person, and when she read it, she started asking me questions about the MC, like, "I didn't know you thought that." I explained that even though it was written in the first person, it was done as a literary device and was not autobiographical. She understood that, intellectually, but I think, emotionally, she couldn't accept it. And it remains the only novel of mine that she's read but never finished. I don't press it.
     

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