BEING WRITTEN, a novel
Daniel Fischer has a secret. He knows he's a character in a book that's being written. He's the only one who knows, the only one who's aware of the author's presence—but what good does it do Daniel? He's just a minor character. The author seems much more interested in other people's lives. Now, after years of sitting in the background, Daniel is determined to be something more.
In his debut novel, Conescu thrusts the reader into the unenviable role of Daniel Fischer as he attempts to reinvent himself to win the author's favor. When Daniel discovers that the author has taken interest in an unhappy young singer, Daniel inserts himself into her social circle and will stop at nothing to make himself a vital part of her story.
By turns suspenseful and hilarious, Being Written calls into question who we trust, what we believe, and how the stories of our lives are created.
From Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins (2008)
Praise for Being Written
"[A] promising foray into metafiction...Conescu's light, swift and nicely structured dark comedy puts to the test a character's ability to outwrite his own author. In the end, the author wins."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Being Written is a first novel of great charm, imagination, and wit. Conescu is a dextrous storyteller with a gift for wicked twists and a dazzlingly urbane sense of both drama and humor."
-- Zachary Lazar, author of Sway
"Conescu's novel is an adroit riff on literary conventions, turning various genres on their heads....How do characters save their own lives, after all? By keeping authors interested. And how do they ensure immortality? By keeping readers interested. And Conescu's open-ended novel leaves everything up to the reader, in that time-honored act of a writer's faith in the story."
-- The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune
"You simply can't put this book down once you've picked it up. Being Written is a fast and furious leap into the desperate world of a young man who lies his way into the kind of life he had only imagined and does much worse to stay there. A Talented Mr. Ripley for the new century."
-- Akhil Sharma, Pen Hemingway Award-winning author of An Obedient Father
“[O]ne of the most impressive and memorable debuts this year....At once experimentally playful and existentially poignant, and both ultra literary and ultra readable.”
-- Metro Magazine
"The hero of Being Written hears the author's pencil scratching away and starts performing drastic acts to win more page-time from the book's other characters....Ionesco, eat your heart out. I suppose you could argue the hero is simply nuts, but I'd rather argue that William Conescu is simply a genius!"
-- Wilton Barnhardt, author of Emma Who Saved My Life
"[A] brilliant debut...Evocative characters adorn each page with their tension, and as a reader you ﬁnd yourself longing for the lead character Daniel to get the part he’s always wanted to play....This book is about what we’re all trying to do: we’re all trying to write our own stories. And as with all great authors, there’s more to come; at least I hope so. No, there has to be."
-- The Adirondack Review
"Are you a puppet on a string or can you control your destiny?...This book is a mind warp, and will have you thinking even after the story is finished. Writers themselves might feel a bit uncomfortable and wonder just what their characters are doing when they're not around."
-- The Parkersburg News
"Conescu asks us to walk a metafictional tightrope where real life and artifice ostensibly intersect. The result: a story that is humorous, bleak, and tightly potted, with a wildly unpredictable and memorable dénouement."
-- G-The Magazine of Greenville
"[A]n entertaining invention, and Conescu follows its logic with thoughtful enthusiasm and wit. He even notes with winking deprecation that the story being written by the mysterious pencil-wielding author '[is] becoming the kind of book people can't put down, the kind they sell at the airport.' If you happen upon Being Written before your flight, you could do worse than pick up a copy."
-- The Independent Weekly
"Being Written is a smarter book than the Will Ferrell movie Stranger Than Fiction....Daniel’s parts of the story are told in second-person, giving you insight to his thoughts and motivations, while the rest of the novel is told in excerpts in third person. Bouncing between the two perspectives keeps the actual novel flowing and keeps the reader considering the options
of being a character and having to please (or outwit) your own author."
-- Sacramento Book Review
"Part thriller, and part essay on the relationship of writers and the characters they create."
--The (Durham) Herald-Sun
"The book's ending is as ambiguous, momentous and exciting as the choice in the famous short story, 'The Lady, or the Tiger?'"
-- The Fayetteville Observer
"The story is unusual, the writing masterful, and the characters flesh-and-blood. It is dark and funny, heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. Conescu breaks all the rules and breaks them beautifully."
-- Diana Spechler, author of Who by Fire
"At times playful, at times frightening, Conescu’s book is always readable. There’s all sorts of strange turns and twists…and when you finish it, you wish there had been more. Then there’s that scratching sound."
-- The (Baton Rouge) Advocate
Excitement in the Blogosphere
"Absolutely brilliant!...Daniel was one of the most original, unique characters that I've ever 'met' through a novel....It has been days since I've finished Being Written, and I still can't stop thinking about it—to me, that's a sign of a really good book."
-- Booking Mama blog
"This book messed with my mind a bit and I had a sick glee about it doing so! It makes you wonder what the characters in your book do when you're not around and what they think about the story being written around them....[T]his is going on my literary novel shortlist."
-- Capes and Coffins blog
"This is Conescu's first novel, and I can hardly wait to read his next. The book reads like a cross between a Charlie Kaufman screenplay (e.g. Adaptation), Terry Gilliam film and Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, all rolled into one."
-- The Lazy Readers' Book Club
"When I got to the very last sentence, I was just as smitten with this book as when I had started it....[G]reat character development; clever plot twists; intellectually-driven suspense; and self-deprecating, dark humor. The glimpse it offers into the world of writing is the icing on the cake."
-- Bonnie Neubauer, author of The Write-Brain Workbook
"This book is unlike anything I’ve read before, and in a good way. It was intriguing and kept me guessing – and interested – throughout."
-- Age 30+...A Lifetime of Books blog
"[A] gem of a book...I highly recommend it!"
-- Annotated Reading blog
"Conescu builds such a degree of suspense in the closing pages, it's difficult to put the novel aside….[Being Written] is definitely one for English professors to dissect and analyze, and is sure to prompt some interesting reading group conversation."
-- Breeni Books
"An intriguing tale [written] in an original way."
-- Virtual Wordsmith blog
"[O]ne of the most exciting, strange, entertaining, and well crafted novels I've ever read....The concept is complex and oh-so-intriguing, the characters drip of flesh and blood, and the dialogue SOUNDS vividly real....For me Being Written is the book of the year, hands down."
-- Rebecca Lerwill, author of Relocating Mia
Being Written was published by Harper Perennial in 2008.
Translations were published by Aufbau-Verlag in Germany and Arena in the Netherlands. Translations are also forthcoming in Turkey and Spain.