Sonya Lalli with her books

On Writing Representation in Fiction (Writer’s Digest)


In a recent article that I wrote for Writer’s Digest, I talk about what it was like to write characters whose journeys mirror my own and how other authors can let go of the burden of representation.

Here’s an excerpt of the article:

About seven years ago, I started working on a manuscript that would later become my debut The Matchmaker’s List. For the first time, I had a protagonist that I loved enough to see her journey through. Raina Anand was 29 years old, and despite her professional accomplishments, all anybody cared about was when she was getting married. Raina was still getting over a challenging break-up and was not ready to move forward. But she was also desperate to please her family, and so she agreed when her loving, meddling grandmother offered to fix her up.

Although Raina was a fictional character, her journey mirrored what I was experiencing. I was frustrated by the societal expectation that, after finishing school and getting a stable job, marriage was the only logical next step. But even though I wrote the book knowing it might speak to readers in a similar situation, it was only after publication did I fully realize that my story was not just about me anymore. Thanks to the great work of my publisher, other people were actually reading it. And many of them were seeing themselves in my story.

To read the rest of the article, please visit Writer’s Digest here.

One thought on “On Writing Representation in Fiction (Writer’s Digest)

  1. As a fiction writer, the pressure to come up with a compelling narrative will always be there. The overwhelming feeling combined with stress and exhaustion is not something to look forward to.

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