Sunday, March 30, 2014

Little Did He Know...

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, authors write themselves into their stories.  Often, it's only an author's core beliefs or past demons that surface in their writing. But sometimes something magical occurs and the author loses--or rather finds--himself in the stories he writes.  Writers appearing as characters in their own stories is an intriguing notion.  

I mean, we're already characters on the stage of life, why not on paper?

The movie that first brought this idea to mind was Saving Mr. Banks.  A tight-laced children's author copes with the problem today's authors would give their left leg for--a movie contract with Disney. Through Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers shares the tragically beautiful story of her childhood, exorcises the demons of her past, and lends hope and magic to future generations.
My second example of authors finding themselves in their own stories is Finding Neverland. J.M. Barrie's beloved tale of Peter Pan finds a home in the theater while the author works out some of his own family problems (a strained relationship with his wife).  Neverland becomes his escape from the day-to-day drama and Peter Pan, with his "never grow up" philiosophy, is at least in part J.M. Barrie himself.
My last example is possibly the strongest.  In Stranger Than Fiction, Karen Eiffel comes face-to-face with a writer's daydream and worst nightmare.  She meets the real-life incarnation of her character, Harold Crick, whom she plans to kill off at the end of her current project.  For the first time, she is forced to consider how many murders she has already committed and if she is willing to add another to the number.
All of these stories are extremely imaginative.  Taking on more than the role of narrator or puppeteer, the author becomes swallowed up in his own story and plays out drama, passion, romance, and slays any number of monsters on the path to self-discovery.  

In one of my own stories, I put myself in the main character's cute shoes and faced some of my own fears (i.e. clumsiness, downright stupidity around boys, etc.).  Stay tuned for a first glimpse of the introduction from Sam James and discover how I (somewhat unintentionally) wrote myself into my own story.

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