Russell J.T. Dyer

Russell J.T. Dyer

Writer & Editor

the works and musings of an american writer in europe • Updated: Jul 21, 2018 • hits: 17892 past month

Why Some Novelists Write Novels

by Russell Dyer
published:  june 07, 2017;  revised:  september 04, 2017;  readers in past month:  137

While working at a Starbucks in Moscow today, I heard overhead the song Iris, by Goo Goo Dolls — from the movie, City of Angels. A few of the lines can help explain why some people write novels, even if very few people will read them:

And I don’t want the world to see me,
'cause I don’t think that they’d understand.

When everything’s made to be broken,
I just want you to know who I am.

All novels are auto-biographical. Authors cannot help but include themselves. In my novel (i.e., I Have No Friends), although almost all of the characters are women, I am all of them to some extent. Their manners, their feelings, their stories are mine. There are a few characters that are partially derived from my friends and relatives. Even those people, their characteristics have become part of my identity, making the corresponding characters also me. This novel, my novel is an auto-biography of me, mapping my inner-self, exposing my feelings — subtle ones that not everyone will see.

Although I am very open about myself, it’s easier to say more about how I feel in writing and in less direct ways, like in a novel. So I hide some aspects of me for my protection and so as not to make others uncomfortable:

And I don’t want the world to see me,
'cause I don’t think that they’d understand.

Given that moments are lost, people drift apart, and life ends, writers write to be heard and remembered. This is why we write novels. This is why we want primarily and desperately for others to read our novels — not for the money, but for more important reasons:

When everything’s made to be broken,
I just want you to know who I am.