Finding Yourself in Fiction

I just received an advance copy of Carol Lunch Williams forthcoming (May 1, 2012) novel titled Waiting.    It’s intense, of course, and packed with emotion and interesting characters doing interesting things.

One character, however, stood out above all the others:  Mr. Crowe.

Now this is not the first time an author has based a character on me (see last week’s post about Edward, Xander, and the gang).  The first such instance was in Louise Plummer’s delightful first novel, The Romantic Obsessions and Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier (1987).  In that novel a charming, sensitive teacher is named Mr. Crowe.  The conncection is obvious.

Here’s a section from Carol Lunch Williams’ newest novel:

I tap on the glass again, and Mr. Crowe strides over and swings the door open.  “Yes, London?”

How did he know my name?

I’m mute.

Now, it’s a good thing this is only an advance copy because, as both of you have noticed, Carol needs to rewrite this scene—or more likely, to re-insert the material that certainly was there in an earlier draft.

Here’s how it should read.

My hand trembles when I tap on the glass, hoping for a glimpse of Mr. Crowe, the Adonis of my Florida high school.  Though my heart is pounding with anticipation, I know that it’s unlikely that he’ll notice me.  His students hang on his every word, scribbling notes furiously and pausing only to snatch glimpes of the man they idolize.

By some sort of miracle, though, he does notice, and he glides over, looking every bit like Mr. Darcy, and with a flourish, swings open the door.  My hands have turned cold and clammy.  I’ve never been this close to anyone as kind, generous, and stunning as Mr. Crowe, and I have to place my hand on the doorjamb to steady myself when he says, in that melodious baritone, “Yes, London?”

I am mute, completely overpowered by the magnificent man standing before me.

I’m confident Carol will make these changes.

So here’s a reading-writing challenge for you.  Find your name in a novel or short story, select a scene that has your namesake in it, and rewrite that scene in a way that portrays you in the properly positive light.

It’s good practice for characterization, and it’s fun to find yourself in someone else’s fiction.

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8 Comments

Filed under Chris, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Finding Yourself in Fiction

  1. Wow. Adonis. Really? I also like the Mr. Darcy bit. Brilliant. I hope she has a chance to make the changes before it’s printed. I am currently trying to figure out which Emily in literature I should exploit and rewrite.

    Any ideas?

  2. CLW

    I don’t doubt that Chris Crowe found his name in my book (He’s been mentioned in plenty of my novels. And he always highlights those pages and memorizes them. See above post. He’s already got the passage committed to memory!).

    Chris has given you all a challenge. Here’s one from me: Mention your friends in what you write. By name. I always do. And I mention their books. I love doing that because, for me, it’s a way to show people I love them.

    Even Chris Crowe.

  3. It could be fun to re-write Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. But I’m pretty sure I’d just end up slapping that husband.

  4. Monelle

    I’m having a little trouble doing this reading-writing challenge. And that is definitely my parents’ fault.

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