Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Research for Fiction

Fiction writers go where news reporters and historians dare not tread: into characters' heads, into the dreams they lose at the moment of waking, into the memories forgotten, the fears never articulated even to themselves. We do all this, even while making stuff up or distorting and embellishing "what really happened" for the sake of a dramatic arc; and, in so doing, we claim our ability to convey emotional truths, more revelatory about a time and place than any series of facts. If I were a historian I am sure this kind of talk would drive me crazy.

Kamila Shamsie, Pakistani novelist, has an interesting
article in the Guardian.

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