Roman à clefs (or romans à clef?)
A roman à clef is, to quote princeton.edu, is "a novel in which actual persons and events are disguised as fictional characters". French for "novel with a key." Also known as a faction, which is oh-so-clever.
I became intrigued with these recently when I read an article about who all the different characters in "Valley of the Dolls" by Jacqueline Susanne were supposed to represent. For example, the aging Broadway star with the big voice is supposed to be Ethel Merman. Then Tyler Knight's welcome thread mentioned he wanted to write a roman à clef about the porn industry.
Is anyone else very intrigued by this type of novel? Personally I found VotD pretty catty while being almost wholly uninteresting (which is no mean feat!) but growing up, "The Godfather" was one of my favorite books. Tom Wolfe, as I understand, is pretty notorious for writing this sort of thing.
Done wrong, this sort of writing seems pretty lazy, but done right, it's an amazing genre.
There is hope, but not for us.