This is a scary question. You might not want to know what all goes on in an author’s head.
If you do, keep reading for a little insight into my own thought processes. I promise it isn’t frightening. Strange, probably, but that’s okay.
Before we get to the inner workings of an author’s thoughts, let me ask you a question that I always find myself wondering about when I read.
Do you ever wonder if bits of the stories you’re reading might be true?
Oh, I know the book itself is fiction, otherwise it would say non-fiction. But my imagination goes wild from time to time as it recreates the scenarios I’m reading. That old phrase “write what you know” comes to mind. What do we know better than ourselves?
Let’s look at an example.
In Melissa Tagg’s One Enchanted Christmas she plots the story around a character who falls in love with her book’s cover model. This has part truth and part fiction. Go look up Melissa for the complete story. She has fantastic encounters in everyday life that are an author’s dream for books. Not to mention her love of goats is legendary.
There are some meet-cutes (that moment in the story when boy meets girl) that are so amazing, I think they must be true.
Then there are times when imagination takes over in another way. (Here we go. What does an author think about?)
I’ve been teaching my teenagers how to do their own laundry (I have a point, stick with me). This morning I thought, “Well, there goes Samuel’s future chance of meeting a cute girl in his apartment complex’s communal laundry room because he’s clueless over how to work the washing machine.” Hello potential future meet-cute for a story! Though I have a hundred questions on how my mind went from teenagers doing laundry to book ideas, I’m rolling with it. Even if I never use the idea.
While I ruminated on that little tidbit, it made me think about other scenes and situations from books I’ve read. How many of them come from the author’s personal experience?
Authors tend to sprinkle bits of themselves into their stories. A phrase. A gesture. A personality trait. In my Independence Islands book, Footprints on her Heart, I wrote an introverted character, which I’ve done before, but Kara is different. I tested her on the Myers Briggs personality test, and she is an INFJ-T at 100% introvert. That makes her a bit more introverted than me but allowed me to use a lot of the same struggles I face for her character.
I’m wondering. Am I the only one who wants to know if the author is revealing bits of themselves through their work?
Is there a scene or meet-cute you’ve read that resonates so well you’d like to ask the author if it really happened? I’ll go back to Melissa Tagg’s One Enchanted Christmas and the meet-cute. It’s such an adorable and hilarious scene. I need to know if it might be even remotely from real life.