Froma Bird's Eye View

Commentary by Raven West

If Fiction Authors ARE Fictional, How do REAL Authors Find Success?

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As fiction writers we see the world in a different way than most. We’re magicians in a land of skeptics; the court jesters who, for a brief moment, help the downtrodden forget how much they hate their rulers.

We create hope for the hopeless, unlimited possibilities where everything seems impossible. Even when our own reality is less than ideal, even the face of relentless obstacles and disappointments, we write on.

We’re not actors pretending to be someone we aren’t. We’re not copy-cats, or cogs, or cubicle dwellers content to live a “normal” day-to-day existence. We know, deep down, that we are unique, our talent is as exceptional as the words we put on a page, each and every one in an infinite combination of letters. We do this in the hope that someday, someone, somewhere will read our labor of love and validate our self-worth.

Which really sucks.

Yet, even in fiction, the epitome of success and reason to celebrate is being able to say “I’m published”.  Entire television series are created around fiction authors of fiction. The irony that there is an actual writer putting words in the mouth of the fictional writer doesn’t escape me. Nor does the fact that the fictional writer is a lot more famous and a LOT wealthier than the actual writer who created him escape me as well.

It probably doesn’t escape anyone else either that Nathan Fallion, the actor who plays the writer Richard Castle on Castle, not only has two mystery novels on the best seller list, but Castle also has a full fictional bio, Facebook page and twitter account. He’s a world famous writer who has never written a single word. Or that his fans who line up for book signings neither know, nor care. Except for the ghost writer who can’t tell anyone that he or she actually wrote the book.

So, he kills the phony actor-writer, which come to think of it would make an excellent plot for an episode of Castle!

On a recent episode of Bones, where the lead character receives a royalty check of $75,000 for her not-really-published novel and another gives his fellow scientists and friends a notebook with his completed written novel for them to read and critique, (because none of these brilliant scientist have an ebook reader?) Of course the book is awful, of course his friends lie to him about how good it is, and of course just as they’re about to tell him the truth, he announces that he’s just heard from a publisher (another brilliant scientist who doesn’t know about agents?) and that he, too is getting published. It seems that even fake terrible writers can get published if the real writer with real talent makes it so.

I’d like to strangle him.

In a literary world where fake writers, 6 year-old kids, angst-ridden tweens and sexually frustrated color-blind hacks are achieving, literally overnight success, what do the real, talented, dedicated writers do?

We do what we’ve always done. From the first day we could talk, we told stories. From the moment we could pick up a pen, or a pencil, or type on a computer keyboard, we created worlds and characters and plots no one else ever thought of. We continue to make the magic, and pull a few more rabbits out of our hats whether or not there’s an audience to perform for. We continue to jest for those who remain to applaud. We’ll always create hope and dream of those unlimited possibilities where everything seems impossible and we will continue even when our own reality is less than ideal, even the face of relentless obstacles and disappointments…

… we write on.

 

 

 

 

 

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