The Defintion of Fiction
You remember how I told you I had a few folks here in Harvey County who were gonna look over my manuscript? I didn’t want them to feel the need to do an all out edit, and I didn’t want to eat up too much of their time. I was more interested as to whether it was relevant to their walk of life.
One was a creative writing teacher. She said she found it a compelling story with lovable characters, especially Indie. She did say it was in need of copy editor. She invited me and my wife over to dinner, partly to talk about the story, but also to give me an English lesson. My mom was an English teacher, and I begged this teacher lady not to tell my mama how many typos and grammatical errors I committed. I did not plan to show it to mom until I took it to the next level. I promised the English teacher I would visit her class and tell her students they better pay attention to something besides girls and guitars.
Another was a minister, and he loved Indie too, so much so he could overlook a few cuss words or the fact Dr. Bibey could be a smart-ass at times. He promised he wouldn’t tell mama that either.
The third was from a lawyer. I didn’t ask for any kind of binding legal opinion; I didn’t think that would be fair. I did want his legal perspective, though. Was it realistic? Did it make sense to a lawyer? This guy is in a position to know.
He had two statements that made me happy. For one, he knew a new doctor who might move to Harvey County, and the cat plays flat-pick guitar. Can you beat that? This is a well connected bluegrass lawyer if there ever was one.
But as far as the book, the other comment was even more important. When this lawyer speaks I listen. I have all respect for him. For him, the story brought back a flood of memories of many different people he had run into over the years. However, he could not positively ID a single one of the characters, even though he was in and out of Harvey County all through the time the Mandolin Case went on. It reminded him of dozens of old cases. He said the story did as fine a job as he has ever seen to show the truth but not tell the facts.
Man, I can’t wait to call my agent. He has spent years trying to teach me the definition of fiction. He is a very strict man, but if I showed the truth and did not tell the facts I might be close to the standard he demands. As the Nashville Bluegrass Band said, “I’m a slow learner,” but I’m getting there.
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