It’s Fiction, Not Fantasy

Saw SVU Special Victims last night–a story about a young woman who was the named author of a work along the lines of 50 Shades. A talk show host rapes her two nights in a row, acting out the fantasies in the author’s book, which was the host’s “defense” as well as the prosecutor’s insight into the case: it turned out a university professor had written the book but was afriad its publication would ruin her academic reputation and had paid her ex-student to take author credit, do the talk shows, etc. The assumption then was that the fantasies in the book were the author’s fantasies, and the younger woman wasn’t the author and so her “no” was really a “no.” No does, of ocurse, mean no, but what an author writes about a character’s actions, dreams, beliefs, fantasies or hopes are NOT the author’s actions, dreams, beliefs, fantasies or hopes. As an author, I know I do reveal much about my worldview in my writings, but no single character stands in for me, my subconscious, my unconscious or my semi-conscious. My characters are characters–their own persons. I share some feelings and beliefs with some of them and many I don’t, just like my friends, who don’t think or act or believe just like me. Friends add much to my life precisely because they have their own unique perspectives on life and its issues. So, too, do my characters. Anybody who is writing fiction or even memoir needs to put aside the thought that some ignorant readers my say after reading your work, “gee, I didn’t know she thought that.” Again: I didn’t. It’s FICTION.