Girl, Interrupted

Before Plain Layne disappeared, readers knew her as a fiery online diarist, an outspoken lesbian, and a beauty straight out of a Midwestern Botticelli. Afterward, they knew her as a hoax.

CP: If I were a literary agent trying to convince you to turn this experience into a book, what would you say?

Soli: Thanks but no thanks. This was an experiment in creative interactive fiction. It was also not solely my work. Many people contributed in their own ways--with comments, with suggestions, with praise, with condemnation--and all of that was important for how that story turned out. My intent in creating this was never to come up with a product that could be turned into a revenue stream or any kind of personal notoriety.

CP: Did you ever think you'd get found out?

Have you seen this girl? The unidentifiable face of "Plain Layne"
Have you seen this girl? The unidentifiable face of "Plain Layne"

Soli: Yeah, you always run that risk. But at this point, I'm most concerned about what could happen. It's like being stalked. People have harassed my family.

CP: But you must have seen people attach themselves to Layne in very personal ways through e-mail and chat. Didn't it occur to you that you were playing with fire?

Soli: I didn't foresee all of this. I was intrigued by the ways you could practice a persona online. That's all. In that sense, maybe I was more naive than everyone who was reading the site.

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