I’ve published more than twenty works of fiction over the past seven or eight years, but none of them has given me so much pause – so much stick your fingers in your ears and go LALALALA – as publishing the book I’ve been working on for at least ten years: a memoir of my relationship with my mother and my brother.
Don’t hurt me, but I find it pretty easy to dash off 50,000 words of a rough draft of a novel in a month’s time (I’ve won NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo multiple times), polish it, and stick it up on KDP. I also don’t have a problem writing nonfiction – as long as it’s happening to someone else.
This memoir, though. Continue reading “Writing and Publishing What Scares You”
Authors write memoirs for a variety of reasons. The question is – does the motivation really matter? Is it just enough to share your story, or does it have to have some kind of reasoning behind it?
One popular and, I think, good reason is to share anecdotes that are funny – to make readers smile or laugh. I have read and enjoyed a few of those. The issue with humour is it can be very difficult to write well. Someone can lead a life filled with amusing incidents but unless they are written with a good comic flare they will fall flat. I’m afraid mine would never fall into that category. My attempts at humour usually result in, “Er – what?” Continue reading “To Memoir or Not to Memoir”
Recently I’ve been working with a 90-year-old woman on her memoirs. If you just glanced at the small, frail woman, you would never guess what she’s seen, where she’s been or what she’s accomplished in her life. Like most older people, she doesn’t carry a sign saying who she is, and those who don’t look beneath the aging face miss a lot.
To add to the complexity, she’s always been dyslexic. Like most differently abled children of her time, she didn’t get any support or sympathy for her difficulty with learning, or even a diagnosis that she could understand. She was labeled “stupid” for a large part of her early life. Because of that, she has a decidedly low confidence in her ability to write.
So how did she start working on her memoirs? Continue reading “Write Your Story Even if You Can’t Write”
Recently our own Big Al wrote a post about non-fiction and how it is largely missing in the annals of IU. True enough, most of our emphasis here is on fiction. Some of us, however, have waded into the cool waters of non-fiction, and I for one found the experience totally different than crafting a novel.
One thing I’ve learned is that fiction and non-fiction have very different roles. Broadly speaking, fiction’s purpose is to provide entertainment while non-fiction’s purpose is to provide information. These two things are not mutually exclusive, of course. If you read the novel Congo, you no doubt learned quite a bit about extracting data from digital video. By the same token, a non-fiction book like American Sniper is certainly entertaining in a dramatic, thought-provoking way.
Non-fiction, like fiction, can be broken down into several sub-genres. Continue reading “When a Novelist Writes Non-Fiction”