Everyone thinks internally when they read. Not selfishly, just internally. If I say “my high school gym”, you’ll think of your high school gym or a gym you know well. If I say “I walked into the bar”, your brain will populate the image of a bar you’ve been to. If I say “she was the bitchiest mom I’d ever met”, well, hopefully you don’t think of your own mother. But you get the point. Our brains aren’t complex enough to create new images on the fly. We use ones we already know, and tweak them based on descriptions. But if you know the person who wrote it personally, your brain will see them talking about their high school gym, the bar they go to, and the bitchiest mom growing up.
This is the #1 thing I learned from writing a book. Not the book publishing industry, not how much free time I really did have, but that if I write “ex-girlfriend” my friends will think of my ex-girlfriend. It’s no mystery that I wrote a fictional book that sounds a lot like my life. I was at Indiana University from 2009-2013, I was in ATO during that time (disclaimer: pre-CNN), I went into college with a girlfriend, I was a business major, the comparisons are obvious. But what I thought would happen, was that the people who know me would recognize the comparisons, but see the obvious differences and read the story separately.
“Oh, Brian used his surroundings as a template to create this fictional story.”
– Brian Connor’s naïve thought in February of 2015.
I never sold drugs. I’ve never been to Vegas with my friends. I’ve never even lived in a fraternity house. And people who know me, know this. But somehow their mind populates me into this character, and next thing I know I’m getting asked by a manager at work about what it’s like to get shot at. It’s been surreal.
Strangers who don’t know me might see my picture on the back and use that image as the main character, but we all did that with Harry Potter anyway, so no biggie (um, how fucking lucky was Daniel Radcliffe that he looked like the drawing on the first book?). But strangers don’t think I myself was involved in a drug-ring or was hazed until I bled, because they don’t know who I am so don’t even think about me. But some of my friends think I bled. Friends of friends think I sold coke to fraternities. And it’s really weird.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s because my network doesn’t know fictional writers. Some dude from my high school doesn’t think Suzanne Collins was actually in the Hunger Games or E. L. James is this erotic SMH fiend like the chick from 50 Shades of Grey. Because that high school dude doesn’t know them, so their brain populates other images from their lives. But I guarantee E.L. James’ friends and family view her differently since that came out, and I would bet money that Suzanne Collins’ friends wonder who in her life is Gale and Peeta.
My only response to everyone? I’m not a good enough writer to create this 100% fake universe like George RR Martin did, so I needed a guide. And I used that guide to create this fictional story.
But even then, I wonder if George RR Martin’s friends think he wants to bang his sister?
*Yes I know this is a parody account... still a funny tweet!
This question was asked of me when I had to create some author bio. Yeah that thing. That shit that’s on the back of every book that no one pays attention to. Besides you mom... hello! And thanks for reading! For real though. What do you want to know about me? What do us as readers want to know about the authors we are reading?
Fiction authors take an outrageous amount of time debating word choices, plot structure, character development, hell, even character names, synonyms of the word “said”, etc. Countless hours and hours reading the same shit over and over again trying to get it right. But as the reader, what is “get it right” for the author?
At least for me, when I read a book, it’s cool to understand where the author is coming from. If you read a book about an OJ Simpson-like-lawsuit, is the author a prosecutor? A defense attorney? Was a defendant before? Or maybe just had to do jury duty one time and doodled some story instead of paying attention? What background does the author have that gives him credibility, knowledge, and an interest in what I am reading? Why does he want to “get it right”?
So who am I? Well, I’m very average 26-year-old male from Chicago. 50 percentile height and weight since I was five, two brothers, a sister, a mom, a dad, and a fiancé. My day job is a financial consultant and I started to write this book as an escape from multiple plane rides, nights in hotel rooms, and general motivation for wanting to become a writer. Very very very average right? But what’s my background that gives me credibility, knowledge, and an interest in what you hopefully have or will read?
Well for credibility purposes, again, I’m a 26-year-old average male. Which means I know about drugs in 2017. I’m not some fiend or anything, but I mean, I’ve been to several EDM concerts, college house parties, well, just imagine yourself at 26. You get it. Knowledge? I went to Indiana University from 2009-2013, was in a fraternity and graduated with a Finance major. And a psychology minor, but really, those were just the easiest Gen-Ed classes so I took a bunch of them and it turned out it was enough for a minor. So I am very well-versed in that lifestyle. Interest in the topic? I don’t have a great answer for you here. I have never had some found respect for drug dealers or anything, or sympathy for people who get hazed, I just understand the college lifestyle from 2009-2013 really really well, and always thought it was super entertaining, so wrote a fake story emulating it.
So who is Brian? He’s a kid who followed his passion during his spare time to write a story he knows a lot about. He’s credible, he’s knowledgeable… mom this is where you stop reading… he’s lived it.
So why did I want to get this right? Because I love to write. So I hope you love to read it.