Monday, October 15, 2012

First novel as autobiography (sort-of)

It is said that every writer’s first novel is autobiographical to some extent.  While none of the events of Unthinkable happened in the real world, the autobiographical aspect comes into the descriptions of the grief of the victim’s family.

When the direction of the story became obvious to me (this was early on), and I knew that writing about the emotions experienced by Barbara Penfield’s family would have to be displayed in some measure, I had to draw parameters around what I would describe.
  • It would draw on the grief I felt over my father’s suicide.
  • It would not be tawdry or maudlin.  On the contrary, restraint was the key to authenticity.
  • Since this was a murder mystery (not lit-fic or chick-lit), simple external description would be sufficient.  Barbara’s family would have to stay on stage, since they were involved (ahem!) in the murder’s solution.
  • When it was time for the emotional cloud to lift, it would be through an experience the family shared.
  • When, after the solution is known, a reconciliation occurs, it would only come with regret.
If you’ve read Unthinkable, how did I do?

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