Posted: January 6, 2011 in Darks

Sloan Wilson once wrote the following:

“The way to write a love story is to fall in love and to have to tell somebody about it and to hell with the rules, if there are any. I might add that the way to write a murder story, a real one, not just a thin little intellectual puzzle, would be not to murder some one, which would be a dangerous form of research, but at least to want to.”

When I was in the tenth grade, I wrote with so much emotion that my Creative Writing teacher sent me to the school counselor. I believe my teacher’s intention was to determine whether I was writing truth or fiction and if my stories were true, that counseling would be beneficial.

I remember sitting in my counselor’s office with my writing teacher and both of them staring at me intently, waiting for me to break my silence. I was asked whether the story I had written was true.

My counselor had red rim glasses similar to those of Sally Jesse Raphael, which reminded me of my grandmother who loved listening to Sally’s radio show, and the other had such bad asthma that she was wheezing.

When I told them my story was fiction, they clearly did not believe me and kept grilling me with further questions.I quickly realized that it was easier to claim truth over fiction.

Perhaps, it was easier for them to try to fix me on the level of emotional damage rather than mental. For the next year, I met with peer counselors every week, where I met my first lover, and became a peer counselor myself. Telling a story about a story changed my life.

Eventually, the truth came out that my story was in fact fiction and I had been living my own story as truth. Thanks mom.

So, when I read the article by Sloan Wilson I felt completely connected. I don’t think you can’t write an emotion without feeling it in some way. Whether you actually experience the emotion or you so desperately want to and create it.

If one of my readers cries when I want them to cry, then I have succeeded at capturing emotion. If you hate one of my characters and love another then again I feel I have succeeded.

Do you need to know if the author experienced the events occurring on the page? No. Does it help to believe something is fiction when it might not be? Yes, sometimes we do not want to know the truth as truth.

If the author writes of murder, does it really mean they want to commit murder?


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