Last night, as I lay reading as many pages of the last book in the Pellinor series as I could before I keeled over from exhaustion, I thought, “It would be nice to just make things up sometimes.”
That’s not to say, of course, that writing fiction is easy. If it was, I’d probably do it, but it’s really hard to write from the imagination, to come up with engaging ideas, to build consistent worlds and complex characters. Fiction writing is hard stuff.
But in this time when I am eeking out information about the people I am researching, when I can read 120 documents to find seven references to the people I’m writing about and most of those references talk about them delivering letters . . . sometimes I wish I could just create entire personas and build scenes for them. It feels like it might be easier.
Then, I remember my purpose – to represent the lives of these people in the truth of who they were. I want this book to stand as a testament to their lives, not the fictionalized lives I might build for them because it’s easier for me. I want people to read this book and know it to be not only true but also as factual as I can make it. I want this book to be nonfiction.
So sometimes I wish I wrote fiction, yes. But then I remember that these people did not get the choice to live in a fictional world that – if they had the opportunity to create it – would certainly have given them more of the respect and the freedom they deserved. So the least I can do for them now is to tell their story as it was and honor them with my work, which is in no way as hard as their existence.
Do you ever wish you wrote a different genre? Why or why not?
Plus, of course, history is – often – so much more fantastical and unbelievable than even our best fiction.