Telling stories

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I wonder if the Queen is watching Netflix’s brilliant new production ‘The Crown’.  I guess all members of the Royal Family will be interested to see how their history from 1947 until today has been translated from reality to the screen.

The first two episodes, which held me riveted, have led me to think about the process of creating fiction.  I know that in my novels I draw on my life experience although I have never served up the facts of my life without cooking them.  The closest I’ve come to presenting raw material is in my recent novel, White Lies. (Link has to be put in, self-advertising being the point of this website)  Peter and I have two children by adoption.  Some readers who know us find it hard to disentangle their perceptions of us from the fiction they see on the page.  I protest the story is not our story.  I would find it extremely hard to write autobiography.  Fiction gives me the freedom to produce an attention-holding narrative.  Facts can be obstacles to entertainment.

In “The Crown” Stephen Daldry has produced a spellbinding narrative out of real life.  The film captures the essence, not necessarily the looks, of the people represented.  But of course the pictures we have of the Royal family stem from the versions we have of them, courtesy of the media.  Only a few close associates can know how well the film represents the real people.

Did the elephant episode at Treetops really happen?  No matter.  It made a dramatic scene which illustrated the birth of Philip’s role as devoted supporter and protector of his wife, the Queen.

I am a monarchist, though I hope the next generation will tighten the budget and reduce the pay roll.

Come to think of it, will the family get a cut of the royalties?

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