More than one person who reads my fiction has asked me how much of it is true. I’ve also had a few with the nerve to ask the same thing about my nonfiction. The truth is, much of my writing falls into that gray area between fiction and nonfiction. I draw my material from my personal experiences, but I also feel a need to shape them into some sort of a narrative.
I think it’s actually a very common human inclination, perhaps even the way our brains are wired. We constantly bring in new, unconnected bits of information and data from the world around us and shape it into some sort of a narrative about who we are and what we are and why we are. I think that’s why we love to tell and hear stories. They help us process–everything.
The hardest part about writing on the border between the two genres–to me, anyway–is making sure that my true story is also an honest communication between author and reader. I hate to think that, by drawing so heavily on my personal experiences, I am misleading a reader of my fiction, who might assume the story is entirely imaginative. And it is far worse to think that I may be deceiving a reader of my nonfiction, who might think the entire piece is factual.
It has, therefore, been a very pleasant experience to contribute a piece to the 3QR. The idea of a third, blended genre allows for writing that is true–and can be read as true–but is also artful and completely honest with the readers. I am very honored to contribute “Princess Diaries” to this excellent project.