Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Confessions of a novelist 1

One of the delights of writing fiction is that you can make your characters say all the outrageous things you’d like to say yourself, but don’t, because you know they’re unacceptable.

There is a woman who writes a column in the Saturday Guardian, and every single time I turn the page to her column and see her photo at the top, I think “Why on earth would a woman of her age have such an APPALLING hairstyle?” It looks as if she’s had it up in a bun, slept in it, and then pulled it out and not combed it through. Not even a little bit. She usually writes about interesting stuff by the look of her titles, but I can’t bring myself to read her column because of her hairstyle. How shocking is that? I’m ashamed of myself.

Here am I – a woman who espouses the belief that what you are like on the inside, what you do and what you say are all a gazillion times more important than what you look like, and yet I feel like this. I’m shocked at myself.

So to get back to the opening sentence of this post – the delight of being a novelist is that you can give all your awful thoughts and opinions and behaviours to a character in your book – you can SAY them, but not get the blame. When you read But I Told You Last Year That I Loved You, you can guess which character performs this function for me.

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