I confess I have been writing this blog as a way of creating a novel about an American girl who moves to Britain and stays; and about all the ups and downs the long term expat life brings her. Michelloui is just a character. Minky, Raffy and My Cat Paddy are friends’ cats.
Does that bother you?
Would you have rather known all along that I was writing a novel and that this is all made up?
I know some of you would be really, really irritated with me… if it were true.
Okay so a few of the people who read this blog knew I was saying a porky right from the beginning–you’ve either met me at Cybermummy 2010 or elsewhere, or went to uni with me, or used to tell me off for slamming doors when I was a teenager so those of you who do know me will now have to vouch for me in case I’ve sown the seeds of doubts in new readers’ minds.
Firstly, I’m not organised enough to create a novel/blog thingy.
Secondly, I would probably have lost interest long ago.
But I know people do it and I know some readers really feel angry about it. There was a blog that started last spring and ended last summer because the blogger was getting so much grief about ‘making it all up.’ I read the blog for a while but didn’t get the chance to get too into it before it stopped. Another blogger told me she had seen a lot of twitter/blogging hoohaw about it and the controversial blogger was so exhausted by it all she stopped. I asked my friend if the hoohaw was based on fact. She had no idea. But ever since then I’ve been thinking about it.
When I write posts I change my neighbours’ names, I elaborate a few stories here and there (but not so much that someone who knows me in real life would say to me ‘what the hell were you on about?!’), I sometimes try out different topics to see what people respond to (or not). Does any of that bother you as a reader? I’m guessing not.
I believe in integrity in blogging not because I’m all high and mighty about blog writing but because blogs survive on the relationships they create with the readers and integrity helps create that relationship. If the blogger has no intention of building relationships with readers then none of that matters of course.
But if a novelist decides to create a novel in the form of a blog first then neatly tucked into a memory stick for the publisher later, without telling the readers, is that lacking in integrity? I’m not sure. It’s still entertainment. And if the blogger has been interacting with the readers (even if under a false persona) then there is still a relationship of sorts, isn’t there?
If I found out that one of my favourite blogs was a complete fake would I be bothered? No.
What about you?
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut