Today it happened again. I got an email from a fan, thanking me for my very helpful book DIALOGUE TECHNIQUES. That would be lovely, except that although I've written three books on writing fiction, none of them is called DIALOGUE TECHNIQUES. According to amazon.com, Gloria Kempton wrote that one.
Over the years I have been asked to autograph books I didn't write, thanked for stories I never heard of, and (once) reviled on a panel for a novella penned by another female SF writer, who happened to be nominated for an award in the same year and the same category that I was. This happens to all writers. Allied with the phenomenon is the fan who says airily, "I read a lot, but I never remember authors." His or her privilege, of course. But the fact is that writers want to be remembered. We're greedy little creatures, whether we admit it or not. Yes, there are a few Thomas Pynchons and Cormac McCarthys and J.D. Salingers out there, who either just avoid publicity or openly disdain readers, but they're rare. Salinger may seal all his current writings away in a safe so none of us plebes out here can soil it, but most of us want to be seen, noted, remembered for our work. We have you in mind, at least subliminally, while we're writing it. We hope it will appeal to you. We want you to behold our idiosyncratic visions. In that sense, writing is an act of narcissism: Look at me! Or at least at the product of my mind!
With or without the technique of dialogue.