The Matterhorn: truth in fiction
The Matterhorn with Dr. Kathleen Waller
Collective Experience in Fiction | Episode 45

Collective Experience in Fiction | Episode 45

How to layer fiction with the moments that shape a culture or place

Today’s podcast is part of a series to accompany my current serialized novel, An Interpreter in Vienna, as we investigate the truth in fiction. You can also listen to the podcast via Apple or Spotify or in the Substack app. Please consider adding a quick star rating on the other players to help my reach.

I appreciate your support as a Matterhorn subscriber and look forward to our discussions. As always, feel free to share any of your work related to the conversation. Thank you!

A full AI-created transcript can be accessed on the desktop version.


  • Collective experience and trauma defined

  • Emotions and control

  • Boston Red Sox

  • Vienna post-WWII

  • 9/11 novelists and filmmakers

  • Effect on everyday culture

  • Architectural uncanny

  • Considerations for your own work

Considerations for your work:

  • Consider how the collective experiences affect your protagonist or different characters.

  • Maybe there’s a collective experience within the fiction – how does this impact the characters?

  • Also think about things like creating mood from an omniscient narrator point of view.

  • What is the news/media narrative in relation to the collective experience? Is this something you want your book to question or reinforce?

Feel free to share your related work or recommendations in the comments.

Leave a comment


The Matterhorn: truth in fiction
The Matterhorn with Dr. Kathleen Waller
The Matterhorn is for writers and curious minds from author and academic Dr. Kathleen Waller.
Each week in this new season, Kathleen shares a chapter of her serialized novels - A Hong Kong Story & An Interpreter in Vienna - and uses it as a catalyst to discuss the layers of literature and how you can use these in your own writing.
The Matterhorn mission is to bring books and texts to life through an interdisciplinary and international approach as well as help writers take risks and create from knowledge.
Follow on Substack to receive posts with links, extra media & transcripts as well as to join the conversation -