From settings to relationships to emotions, women’s fiction taps my heart and imagination because it takes what I know and puts it through a strainer so I’m left with just the juicy bits. Because real life has boring parts and boring parts don’t belong in novels.
When I read or write something that makes me pause, I hit my “believe” button. For me, this happens a lot with male characters in novels — my own and those of others. Fictional men seem to be always handsome. Not that I mind, but all men in real life are not conventionally handsome so sometimes I wonder about it.
But, anything is possible in women’s fiction, because like it or not, we do not know what happens behind the curtains of other people’s lives. And that’s who I’m writing and reading about. Other people and their lives. The fact is, that if the author makes it so, then behind that particular curtain, all men are handsome. And of course this is just an example. (Mainly because it’s a pretty one.)
I hold real life in high regard and mine my own truth (and the truth of others) for the stories it holds — and then I turn those truths inside out and upside down to write my novels. Then I shake it out and turn it on its side. That’s what makes fiction interesting. It’s pretend. But in women’s fiction it’s still about real lives. (Stay with me) Fictional people leading real lives doing extraordinary things with terrific insight, palpable emotion and eventual closure of some sort, even if it’s the pretty bow sort. (I know you understand the convoluted, rambling oxymoron.)
Entrenched in hefty rearranging and revising of my novel, where I’m upping the ante, identifying boring parts (it’s true, I thought they were brilliant parts – both b-words – I guess I got confused) and writing a few new scenes that surprise even me — I thought of the familiar saying that truth is always stranger (and therefore better) than fiction.
To whomever is that author of that passage, I respectfully disagree.
Truth is not stranger than fiction.
At least not when it’s done right.