My youngest daughter is still at that point where she reads with Mom and Dad listening to help her with the big words. While we were driving to visit cousins, I thought I would make good use of time and have her read to me from the beginning of the book. Here is the first paragraph of the book: (Which reminds me, as soon as I get someone to update my website, the first three chapters will be on my website along with extra scenes not in the book.)
I didn’t want to write this. Really, there’s a lot that’s happened in the last few months that I’d rather forget. But Mom says I need to have an autobiography on hand, that I need to record all the facts, in case someone writes a trashy tell-all book about me. Mom also told me I should describe her as ten pounds thinner, looking like a fashion model, and being an immaculate housekeeper. So here’s the disclaimer: Whatever else you might think about the events in this story, please keep in mind that my mom is gorgeous and our bathrooms were always clean.
My daughter read the first sentence, I didn’t want to write this, and asked, “Is this book about you?”
“No,” I said. “In novels sometimes authors pretend to be the main character.”
My daughter thought about this for a moment. “So you really did want to write this book?”
“No, actually I didn’t want to write the book. It was my editor’s idea. I wanted to write a fantasy book about wizards.”
This seemed to just confuse my daughter about the whole real-not real aspect of the book. She read through the rest of the paragraph until she came to the last sentence: Whatever else you might think about the events in this story, please keep in mind that my mom is gorgeous and our bathrooms were always clean.
“Oh,” she said, understanding dawning over her, “This book is pretend. Our bathrooms aren’t always clean.”
And that in a nutshell is the difference between fiction and nonfiction.