Monday, October 01, 2007

Revision: opinions please

I'm revising a story for my next MFA submission. (I am WAAAYY far behind, but that's another story.) In the story, the main character joins a book club. They read two books in the course of the story. Now, here's the question: Should they be real books, or should I make them up? What are your thoughts on either? What are the pros and cons of each? Have you read any books that name drop books well? One of the books they read has to be about an affair for thematic reasons. Thanks for your thoughts! Best Blogger Tips

6 comments:

January said...

I don't know if I have any book suggestions, but I do like the idea of using real books in your story. It can be your homage to your favorite authors. Of course, I suggest picking a book that adds something to the plotline.

Bug said...

Thanks Jan!

TI said...

I agree with January that real books are a good idea. It's another way to connect with your reader. Classics that your readers will recognize are even better. Either that or books that have been made into movies everyone knows. For example, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje is about an affair (and people will at least know the film). And of course, you could do Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary or The End of the Affair if you wanted a classic about an affair.

Bug said...

Great suggestions, TI. Thanks! And a good excuse to refamiliarize myself with each of those books, which I enjoyed in the past and now barely remember!

polka dot witch said...

and then i was going to say, make them up. b/c then you could include the reading of passages/excerpts (which i don't think you could if they were real, unless, maybe the classics ... ) and have their plot lines and character stuff bend to your whim, give you what you need from them in terms of comparison/contrast with your story ... and i worried about the "timeliness" of real books ... will they be recognizable 15 years from now? will the story become a sort of call and response based on a book we all know? and then i thought well maybe real books would lend credibility and authenticity and set the story in time and place which is a good thing.

back and forth. i see your problem.

but then i remembered that the actual books aren't what's important. people won't be remembering your story for the books the book club read. they'll remember your story for the relationship of your characters to one another and to literature--no matter what kind, what time, what reality. if those pieces are strong, i don't think that the book selection is a make or break it kind of thing.

Bug said...

Thank you PDW for your thoughtful response!

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