Grey Expanse Between Fact and Fiction
There’s an old saying “write what you know” a popular expression among writers. So what happens when you write a story of “what you know” but you don’t have all the factors to conclude the story?
Over four decades ago, when I was a high school student, there were some unconventional incidents that took place in my teens. Years later, I considered writing an autobiography that would have revealed a real and intimate part of my life, but I was missing a key component, the “why did those events take place?” Without answers to that question, an autobiographical account was out of the question. Who’d want to read a book with no conclusion? Those events were real, and they changed not only my life but the lives of others. Yet I didn’t have the details to wrap up the story all tidy and neat.
On a personal note, I had struggled with the “why?” for years. I had kept that part of my life private because I worried to tell my story due to possible retaliation. For years, I wanted to put those memories behind me. I craved and needed closure.
Finally, the solution came to me. Couldn’t I write the “what I know” part and fill in the unknown “why” with fictional content? I wrote the rough draft and everything fell into place. The completed draft was a blend of fact and fiction. It answered every one of the unknown factors which eluded me for years. I had a complete story. And most of all, I found the closure I so desperately desired.
The result was a coming-of-age story composed in the grey expanse between established facts and pure made-up fiction. No loose ends, no unanswered questions, and a story wrapped up with a big shiny bow. I entitled it CLIPPED WINGS.
I completed the epic-length rough draft in four months. Handwritten with fountain pens and liquid bottled ink in eight cheap college-ruled composition notebooks. An additional three months to transpose the manuscript into digital format along with considerable first-round editing. There are several further rounds of self-editing to do. Then, I will release the manuscript to hungry beta readers. At which time, they will rip and shred my manuscript apart with their scathing remarks. From the beta readers' comments, I’ll have a plethora of editing options before me. However, I will have the last word as I wrap up the final edit before the manuscript goes to a third-party editor to polish the final manuscript for publishing.
CLIPPED WINGS may be a southern coming-of-age novel to its readers, but for me, I found closure to a dark part of my earlier life. The question remains, is the book fact or fiction? You and I know the actual answer, the story takes shape in that grey expanse that exists between fact and fiction, yet is inspired by actual events.
Bestselling Author Dale Thele
Fiction with an LGBTQ+ Twist
corrupting readers since 2008
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