Thursday, September 10, 2009

Novel Reading Habits

The number of books on my to-be-read shift totals 26. At the moment.

Of these, the newest is a just-out paperback I bought a couple weeks ago. The oldest is a hardback by a name author that's been in the stack for a number of years. I just keep not reading it. Not sure why. I guess something else always sounds better.

Sometimes books languish here awhile. Sometimes I buy a book, come home and read it right then so that it never hits the shelf.

Anyway . . . yesterday I began a new book. The copyright date is 2006, and I bought it new. So as Emeril says, it's had a chance to get happy with the other books on the shelf. The book is The Book of Fate written by Brad Meltzer.

Yesterday I took the book with me when I went to get a haircut. While I waited, I read the Acknowledgments in the front. Midway, Meltzer says, "Every novel is a lie that tries to sound like the truth."

I couldn't have said it better.

It describes exactly how I write. I take a fact from here, another from there, create some characters, and weave their story around the few facts I've gathered.

The tricky part is making the parts into a whole so that the story comes alive for the reader.

There's a long word for making something seem real - verisimilitude. It means the appearance of truth.

Don't forget that word. It's important.

8 comments:

Jack W. Regan said...

I like that quote. Although, as you suggested, I would say that novels are more like half-truths. Readers would never fall for entire lies. But Meltzer's version is much catchier and he makes a good point. Plus, I'm just nit-picking. ;0)

Seriously, it's a good rule to live by. And you're right. It's a lot trickier than people think.

Helen Ginger said...

That is a good word. And a word I had forgotten about. I should use it more so it'll stay in my mind.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Carol Kilgore said...

Jack, I'll consider half-truth better than half-baked :)

Maybe I should get the Trix Rabbit to help me construct my new manuscript.

Carol Kilgore said...

I always stumble over the pronunciation, Helen. My tongue doesn't want to wrap around all those syllables before going on to the next word.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Great quote! I consider it a sign of a really good author when he or she can take the implausible and make it seem possible.

Carol Kilgore said...

I think so, too, Jane. It's my goal. One of many.

Laura Eno said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the word - just don't make me say it!

Carol Kilgore said...

No worries, Laura. I won't make you spell it either.