Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Fact, Fiction, and Disguise, Oh My!

The theme here at YAOTL this month is fact, fiction, and disguises. Perfect for the month of October and Halloween, where fictional characters in disguise hit the haunting grounds and scare the facts right out of us.

I wish I could devote my full attention to the of the ins and outs of the facts I reveal in my fiction and what I disguise. But the fact is, I’m on deadline with my latest work of fiction and just don’t have the time to for an in-depth examination. So, I present a bunch of totally random inspirational quotes and advice for your edification and entertainment.


This is probably the most on point quote about writing that isn’t really a quote about writing (another fact: Michelangelo was a genius, but you knew that).

Now, I have no evidence that Michelangelo was a “pantser,” an artist who had no idea what he was going to create until he first put brush to palette or hammer to chisel, but this quote makes me lean toward "yes." This is kind of how I write--the theme, motive, plot, even the characters’ goals and needs are revealed as I chip away the excess marble and the story takes shape.


“I don't promise to forget the mystery, but I know I'll have a marvelous time.” – Carolyn Keene (Nancy’s Mysterious Letter)

“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.” – Doris Lessing (Autobiography, Vol. I)

“A good book isn't written, it's rewritten.” – Phyllis A. Whitney (Guide to Fiction Writing)

“While we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren't there, we hear their voices... Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.”– Ursula K. LeGuin

“Do act mysterious; it keeps them coming back for more.” - Carolyn Keene Redux

These ladies know what they’re talking about. Sometimes fiction is the best way to reveal truth, comment on society, and explore the human condition. Sometimes it’s good, rollicking fun. But it’s always transportive and leaves you wanting more.


Another great quote about writing that’s really about writing. Being an author does feel like you’re channeling Loki, being a trickster in disguise 24-7, except the purpose of the trick is not to present something false to your audience, but to get at a deeper truth.

A pen name is a pretty awesome disguise. Whether it’s totally fiction (George Eliot), partially fact (the first part of my pen name is real), famous (Anne Perry, Anne Rice, a few other Annes I'm sure), really famous (Mark Twain), or chosen to fit the genre (Dr. Seuss, anyone?), a pen name can be liberating. It can mask gender (Andre Norton), it can provide cover for an author well-known in another field, and it can simply give an author the freedom to explore a different genre or ideas.

I took on a pen name last year, and I love it. It’s given me both validation and a singular identity as a writer, not connected to any other part of my life.



We don’t need no stinkin’ badges. 

We really don’t. 

And finally, FEATHERY FACT:

"I’m sure no one will recognize me in this disguise."

...So, there you have it, a truncated treasure trove of fact, fiction, and disguise. I'll see you next month when I’m (hopefully) breathing easier!

It’s a fact that Janet Raye “Featherhead” Stevens spends a lot of time in her fictional worlds, often in disguise.