Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Everything Doesn't Work
So you’ve had a great vacation. Maybe you went to France for the first time. Met some nice people there. And after awhile you found out their secrets. Or you had a weekend in the Hamptons with friends. You never laughed so much in your life. Possibly you had company for the weekend. It was a nightmare. You think to yourself, ‘This would make a great novel.’ No it wouldn’t. Everything that happens to you doesn’t work as a novel. Of course some things do. But these weekends or weeks of vacation probably don’t. What you enjoyed or hated, and the people involved won’t be interesting, funny, or horrifying to others as a novel. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use pieces of these experiences in something you’re writing. Character traits may come from someone you met on your vacation for that one person you couldn’t get right on the page. Or the way someone holds his fork. Little things. But don’t try to turn your whole experience into a novel because I promise you it won’t work. And if you’re going to use a piece of something, please don’t translate it into a dream.