Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Belzhar Blog Tour: Meg Wolitzer talks Writing Main Characters.


Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer || Release date: October 2014

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.


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Guest Post: Meg Wolitzer talks Writing Main Characters.


I don’t like to write about people I know. First of all, they get mad at you if you do; and second of all, it isn’t all that interesting. One of the most pleasurable aspects about writing is the degree of invention involved. When I was a young girl I thought that there was a job making up the names of streets. I would fill notebooks with names like Greenbriar Circle and Angel Court.  How disappointing it was to find out that the person who developed the land was the one who got to name the streets. 

 But of course, if you really like making up names, you can become a writer. When I wrote the character of Jam Gallahue and the other students in her English class at the school for “emotionally fragile, highly intelligent” teenagers, I tried to get to know each of them as well as I could. I didn’t base them on people I knew, but instead I thought about how events in a person’s life might affect who he or she becomes, and even change the shape of the self. If I hadn't been a writer, I might’ve liked to have been a psychiatrist, for I often think about the different varieties of personality and experience.

 Even if you don’t use people you know as characters in your books, sometimes your friends see pieces of themselves there anyway. It could be wishful thinking on their part, but I suppose they could also be picking up stuff that you didn’t even realize you put in- tiny observations rather than overarching traits. It’s always a mystery where ideas “come from.” Space? Experience? Dreams? Guesswork? I love the strange power of invention in fiction. 


Follow Meg @MegWolitzer

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