Will the real Beth Ciotta please stand up?

If you never saw the old game show To Tell The Truth? you won't get the reference in the above title. Doesn't matter. The point is, I'm complicated. Or rather, you can't judge an author by a book's content.

People who knew me before they read one of my books often comment on how shocked they were by certain graphic language or scenes. Not shocked as in repelled, but shocked as in--it's so not like me.

One girlfriend commented on a creative 'car sex' scene... "I was fanning myself thinking, I can't believe Beth wrote this!" Another emailed me to applaud my... "...prolific use of the 'F' word. I didn't know you had it in you. I'm impressed." In my defense, I heavily researched these particular male characters and, realistically, they, unlike me, would not say, fudge or flipping.

You see, in real life, I'm a bit of a modern-day Doris Day. Thing is, my characters although they come from me, are not me.

One of my favorite authors, Robert B. Parker, wrote about this very issue over at his Amazon blog. "In the years when I was trying (sort of) to teach fiction writing (unsuccessfully) a student asked if it was okay to write about life. I said, "as opposed to what?" Of course you write about life. Yours, quite often. But it is life filtered through the imagination and exists rather remote from the one being actually lived . . . does that make any sense?" It does to me! Click here and read more.

Have you ever met an author and been surprised by a personality that didn't quite gel with what you expected? I guess the same goes for actors. What we see on the screen isn't a true refection of who they are.

Artists. Such a complicated lot. Don't you love us? *g*


Mary Stella said…
I didn't know that Parker had a blog!! Oh, Beth, thanks for sharing that marvelous news. You know I'm a huge fan. Must. Go. Read. NOW!
Hey, my characters do things I would NEVER do. Expecially in the eroitica. LOL!
Tori Lennox said…
I've found that characters usually know their own minds and will do what they darn well want, regardless of how I feel about it. :)

P.S. Was that What's My Line? or To Tell the Truth? I love those old game shows! SO funny!
Beth Ciotta said…
Lee Goldberg turned me on to Parker's Amazon blog awhile back, M. But then I forgot! Jeesh. Need to add to my blog roll. I know what a fan of his you are. Enjoy!
Beth Ciotta said…
Toni, it's the best, right? Living through our characters? Well, the nice ones anyway. LOL

Tori, maybe you're right. Maybe I mixed up my game shows. I used to watch BOTH of those. Shoot! Time to google...
Beth Ciotta said…
TORI! You were right. That famous question came from To Tell The Truth, not What's My line. Geez. Thanks for the heads up! I changed it in my post. :)
Bruno Amato said…
Beth, Well now I GOTTA start reading your books!!!!...and I believe it WAS "To Tell The Truth"...I still remember Kitty Carlisle was always one of the celebrities...
Beth Ciotta said…
LOL, Bruno. :)

Oh! Kitty Carlisle! Talk about a blast from the past. I seem to also remember Peggy Cass and Soupy Sales as panelists on To Tell The Truth. Although I think quite a few stars floated through.

Gosh, I'm just remembering how much I used to love game shows. Hollywood Squares (with Paul Lynd in the Center Square), The Gong Show, Dating Game, Newlywed Game, Match Game, Price is Right, Let's Make a Deal.... :)
Tori Lennox said…
When the Game Show Network (now just called boring old GSN) first started up. They showed a lot of those old game shows in black & white. I only vaguely remembered some of them from when I was a kid. What I find quite funny now, is how everyone always smoked DURING the show and the shows' main sponsor would be some cigarette brand or another.

And because they were recorded live if there were any bloopers they went across the airwaves! Too funny!
Beth Ciotta said…
I don't get the Game Show Network, Tori, and it's probably a good thing. Obviously I had a weakness for those shows first time around. We're talking real trouble when you factor in the nostalgia effect.

Ah, yes. When smoking was acceptable and actually cool. They even used to smoke on the talk shows... Dick Cavett, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas... Hmm. I never realized how addicted I was to TV as a kid. :)
Cynthia said…
Television was cool when I was a kid, especially late night/weekend tv. I mean, I feel in love with some of the most wonderful movies because of tv. I saw James Dean for the first time on tv, I never would have discovered "The World of Henry Orient" without weekend tv. I saw "Auntie Mame" on weekend tv. All this too way before cable.

I feel so sorry for kids these days that they don't get old movies anymore.

Okay, so I feel sorry for kids today for more reasons than that, but that's a biggie in my book.
Roni said…
I think the language may be different, but certain aspects of a writer's [personality do come through in their writing. For example, Beth, you have a great sense of humor and your stories are really funny!
As far as TV--anyone else out there a fan of Get Smart? I LOVED that show. I just wish they'd bring it out on DVD.
Brooks said…
Roni, step into the Cone of Silence and I will give you the code to the Get Smart Again DVD movie on Amazon.


Gotta go, my shoe phone is ringing!
Beth Ciotta said…
I'm SUPPOSED to be working on revisions. And I swear I AM! But every now and then I need a mental break and stop in here. Thanks for keeping me sane.

Cynthia, in addition to being addicted to game shows and talk shows while I was growing up, I, too, was a huge fan of weekend matinees and nighttime movies. I discovered some of the greats same as you, via those star-studded televised movies. Probably why I love AMC so much today. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Roni, so glad you enjoy the humor in my books! What's better than bringing joy? :)

As for Get Smart, oh, yes, I was a fan. And as you see, so was Brooks. I swear that man can track down anything. :)
Charlene Teglia said…
Lord, I hope people don't think I'm like the characters in my books. Especially since my two werewolf heroines killed people. : O
Constance said…
I hope people never think I'm like the characters in my books. Then if they meet me, they'd be a bit shocked to find out I'm actually *whispers* vertically challenged.
Roni said…
Brooks, you ARE funny! COne of silence! LOL. I actually taped that TV movie when it was on (late 80s, I think, since my children were pretty young)and still have it--but I should get it on DVD, I'm sure the quality would be better. Thanks for the head's up!
Beth Ciotta said…
Yes, that would be doublely bad, Charlene. The werewolf part and the killing part LOL

So you write about Amazons, Constance? ;)

Good luck with your DVD quest, Roni!
Bethany said…
But sometimes the authors are just like you would imagine them to be! ;-)

However, I AM an author, so the *characters* speaking the way you might not-- well that is normal. All my characters do things I might not necessarily do. And sometimes they do stuff I WISH I could do!

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