Thoughts on author/reader relationship

One of the unexpected outcomes of my nanowrimo experience last year was a conversation with my father where he was insistence that my novella was an expression or reflection of my own life and myself.  Since I had intended to write something of an anti-hero and a character I would feel sorry for and ridicule I took issue with him and was not particularly pleased!  But trying to take an objective perspective and after talking with others and reflecting I can see there is a lot of truth in what he was saying.  I would qualify it by saying it can never reveal the whole person, rather aspects.  Sometimes only background.  Perhaps it depends how open the person is?  Perhaps it depends how much they have taken to the old maxim "write from what you know"?  But having met one or two authors in person when I have read their works I can see it seems to bear out.

Perhaps it is obvious to readers.  But as a writer and in this context I was quite unprepared for this, and have to admit it has given me pause for thought.

I recently "discovered" a new author I enjoy; Tobias Hill.  I first read "The Cryptographer" and enjoyed it enough to go on to read his first novel ("Underground").  When I check Wikipedia I certainly discover many biographical details that tie into his first work.  Which makes me think that just maybe the extent to which one reveals of oneself is especially apparent in early works.  Perhaps it is a feature of being new to fiction writing, and as one becomes more adept at spinning out a tale of fiction one can remove more of the personal and write more that is truly imagined?  I'm not sure I have more writing in me, at least not right now.  But when and if I do I shall perhaps return to consider this.

I really like Tobias Hill's style.  I'm not surprised to read he has a background as a port also.  One fo the little details that caught my eye was his take on technology in "The Cryptographer", I loved the near future setting and the corelation with the "credit crunch" phenomenon.  Also his coining of the term "Soft Gold".  As someone with a fairly good knowledge of information technology some writers ill-informed use of the subject as a fictional device can really grate on my nerves, but not in this case.

On a personal side note - the reduction in post activity can partly be attributed to simply beign busy with "real life".  But I have to admit the other main reason is a complete absence of comments and an awareness that not many read my blog.  So it is a little like talking to myself.  Please do not get me wrong, this is not a "pity posting" whining for comments.  I am also fully aware that comments are largely made by other bloggers and it requires me to be reading and commenting for the favour to be returned.  I'll confess to a nice feeling when I found someone on my blogroll has also added this blog to theirs.

I have made this blog extremely easy to comment on - I think I just want to say that any comments passed will be very well received and if you are a reader of blogs and you have enjoyed that you read a comment is probably the best way to encourage the author to write more.


  1. I've found that in a lot of cases with my own writing there are pieces of me in the stories, perhaps spread amongst several characters. I don't necessarily do this conciously, though. It can sometimes be as simple as a turn of phrase that I use all the time being a catch phrase for one of the characters... or coffee. But, I don't think I could go on and purposefully write a story that contained a character that was ME or the ANTI-me; I'd have too much personal, emotional investment to do this conciously.

    As for comments... aside from the 'lack of time' excuse that we all share, I've found myself reading a lot of blogs lately and commenting rarely... or commenting really late (as in this one). I've seen a dramatic drop in readership on my own blogs and I don't know if it is because I've not been commenting, if people have lost interest or if it is simply a matter of life being in the way.

    Maybe I'll start experimenting more and see what comes of it from a readership and commenting perspective.

    Rob on
  2. I do think you have to put a little of yourself into a story when you write it, even if its an exaggerated aspect of yourself that only you are aware of. It helps you empathise with characters you create and adds that extra dose of believability to what you do.

    As for comments, I think real life gets in the wya of rememebring to click on a blogroll link. I think i'll be adding an rss feed to my blog so i can see in a click if anyone has updated.

    Have a good weekend ^^

    saharial on