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Friday, January 27, 2023

The stuff of fiction is . . . life


Settings for novels take place … well, literally everywhere.  And, as P.D. James (born in 1920) once noted, all fiction is largely autobiographical for the writer, and much autobiography is, of course, the stuff of fiction. 

Someone, like you or me, sits down and starts thinking about where and how to “set” a book or a short story or even to tell the story of his or her own life – and pretty soon we have something new to read.  It usually doesn’t happen overnight and it often is a messy process, but regardless of who is doing the writing, it’s yet another completion of a creative process that has led to everything from our neighbor’s “memoirs” to Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

 “(Writing) is undoubtedly a lonely career,” James said.   “But I suspect that people who find it lonely are not writers.  I think if you are a writer you realize how valuable the time is when you are absolutely alone with your characters in complete peace.”

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