Making things up
In a (relatively) recent interview with Melvyn Bragg, the host of the South Bank Show talked of the complicated process of fictionalising real life experiences. In Bragg’s case, the real life experience was the death of his first wife. The characters were easily identifiable, despite name changes, and the true-to-lifeness gave the fictionalisation a whole different hue. During the course of the interview, Bragg admitted he sometimes regretted having ever attempted to represent these real incidents in fictional form, as much for what it put others through as for how difficult he himself found it. Yet aren’t creative writing classes forever reminding us that we should write about what we know? And what do we know better than our own experiences? So here’s the question: where’s the line between fact and fiction, and is it fair game to cross it at will?