I Want to Live in One of my Books

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
I'm tired of inhabiting real life, with all of its uncertainties and disappointments. Everything is so imprecise, unreliable and unpredictable: it even feels like electrical devices are opposing me—I had to click on a link to a website three times, to get it to open—stupid mouse!

If only I could step into one of my stories, where all is certain and sure to work. Even in my Cornish Detective novels, where my detectives seek to right the wrongs perpetrated by the criminals, I'm confident that they'll unearth the necessary clues. They're a damned sight cleverer than me, at working out how to solve a problem.
A fictional world is precise. It's exactly four miles to the next town, not three-and-three-quarters, and if my copper needs to refuel his patrol car, there'll be a free petrol pump, meaning he won't have to join a queue of other frustrated motorists. This is actually a rare event in fictional worlds, for most imaginary cars are magic and never require fuel.

Fictional folk always know what to eat and drink, and it's instantly available and delicious, with none of that tedious grocery shopping and preparation of ingredients.
Amazingly enough, my heroes and villains never need to bathe or fart or relieve themselves, entirely shunning toilets—unless it's to meet a police snitch who's got exactly the bit of information they need to capture their suspect.

Love-making that's made up is usually stupendously orgasmic, or sometimes a total flop—heralding an immediate relationship breakup—there's never any post-coital doubt, about whether a partner came or not (and do they really love me?). Should a couple split up, then, pretty soon, someone else more suitable comes along, someone they should have been with all along. There's no period of searching bars and clubs, or joining online dating sites and sitting alone talking to themselves, while becoming expert in self-abuse that's ultimately unsatisfying and which leaves them feeling more lonely than ever. :(

My fictional characters sometimes reflect on past events, and it's usually to recall a vital life lesson that helps them in their present dilemma. They don't have to herd a troop of whooping mental monkeys back into their cage, from where they continue to fling insults that create self-doubt.

In fiction, buttons never fall off, zips never jam and keys never go missing. Everything is neat, clean and functional!

I'm not quite sure how to transform from an unknown author into a fictional character with legions of reader fans, but I'll give it a go—trying to avoid paper cuts and scorching from Kindle hardware, as I shuffle from obscurity into immortality. Just think, I might be further metamorphosed—into a star of a Hollywood movie—when Tom Cruise buys the rights to my detective stories, so he can carry on running around saving the world!

I just had a horrible thought—if I entered one of my Cornish Detective novels, would I end up being murdered, or even arrested as a likely suspect by my protagonist? Eek, I'm haunting myself!

Who wants to be real, anyway?

Have any of you ever imagined yourself within your fictional worlds?

Are you one of the characters, or do you exist as a shade, a barely seen entity that shifts between your computer keyboard and the page?

The lives of our characters really is more streamlined isn't? Good or bad, everything flows to them efficiently, and they seem to win out in the end Not a bad lot in life, I suppose :)
That being said, I would not care to live in any of my books! That way madness lies. Other people's work is a different matter though! One ticket to The Culture, please!:D
No, not a character; if I'm in there it's in the voice. I wouldn't want to live in any book just as I would not want to live in any other life or anyone else's life. There are things I could do without in my own real life for sure, never a moment pain free, not even in sleep, and not able just to stand up, but everyone has their problems and I'm lucky in lots of other ways.

I'm a human animal which means I'm a problem creating as well as problem solving animal. My heart is electric. I run on tension. When I die my body will announce that fact in the initial loss of all tension as I return to where I came from. Life is its own prize, demanding we experience problems because we are taking up space in the world that something else could have used, but cannot while we're using it. It all has to be worked for somehow, for our happiness. Writing is work too. We'd be in hell as lotus eaters, and our everyday reality is also our mythos.
You sound sad Paul. I'm not sure your post is about what you say it is.

My parents always used to say, "Live in the real world!" But the real world has little to recommend it. Now the only person left saying that to me is my brother and ironically -- sometimes my son. I thought I raised him better than that.

But you don't have to dislike living in the real world to write. One of the best writers I know lives in the real world. Of course, these things are all about degrees. His family might say he doesn't live in the real world. To me he's one of the most grounded people alive. But, from what I understand, his family consider him the wild one.

In actuality, what's stripped away in fiction, are the parts which don't serve the story and plot. Sometimes characters do have trouble finding something to eat. They often have doubts after a night in bed and I'm pretty sure there are descriptions of terrible sex. This quote, at the end of Stranger Than Fiction always makes me a little tearful:

As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true.

There is truth in fiction. There must be. It must be one of the reasons we bother with it. And if you haven't seen Stranger Than Fiction, it's a movie about a man who is dying inside. Some would say that in the beginning, he doesn't have a life. But it's more he takes the life he has for granted. It's only through losing his life, or dying, that he finds it, and it's through the use of small moments and mundane objects that he finds himself.

It must be a book too because I found the quote on goodreads. But I've only watched the movie.
This thread started after I caught myself imagining a scene while writing my WIP The Dead Need Nobody. A killer is looking down upon a bay, where my protagonist detective is recovering a corpse hidden inside a concrete statue, that's he's hidden in plain sight at an underwater sculpture park visited by scuba divers. I saw the action through the killer's eyes, from where he stood on the coastal path, then I started to picture how it would look like to the seagulls hovering nearby—which was a bit mad!

I shook myself back to reality, though, I must confess that I'm often away with the fairies.


John Antser Christian Fitzgerald, The Artist's Dream
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