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Susan B
05-14-2007, 10:32 PM
I'm curious--how many of you have written fiction, as well as memoir?

Have to confess: I am thinking of "jumping ship" for my next book, which I'd pictured as yet another memoir/narrative nonfiction project. But not sure I want to go through another experience of writing a hard-to-market book on an obscure topic. Once is enough :-)



Any thoughts appreciated!

Susan

slsherwood
05-14-2007, 10:39 PM
I am strictly a nonfiction kind of gal. I've tried writing fiction in the past, and I have a hard time keeping my story straight.

In a short story (1500 words) about a boy hunting deer for the first time with a BOW and ARROW, I had him picking up his spent RIFLE cartridges, and didn't notice my discrepancy for over a year.

Argh.

Sakamonda
05-15-2007, 03:34 AM
I write both fiction and creative nonfiction. I also am a journalist and playwright.

To date, I have completed five full-length novels, four of which have agent representation, one of which has sold.

I have also completed one full-length memoir, which has agent representation and one offer from a publisher on the table (and others hopefully to come).

I think writing all the novels first better prepared me for writing my memoir. It definitely helped me strengthen my narrative skills.

Prevostprincess
05-15-2007, 03:51 AM
I've written 2 memoirs, one published nearly 10 years ago and one just bought. In between, I wrote 7 screenplays, all fiction, and all represented (a couple optioned). I'm thinking of turning one of them into a novel, as I don't think I have another memoir in me. (Or, maybe I should say I hope I don't, as if I do, it will be based on yet another of my husband's crazy ideas as to how we should spend a year of our lives.)

Writing screenplays has taught me to be ruthless when I edit. So, like Sakamona, I think writing in that other genre has helped me overall in my memoir (and possibly novel) writing.

Susan - I've been told that selling a first novel is as tough as selling a memoir. So, not sure what you'd be gaining by turning your memoir into a novel. Maybe that's a good question to ask your agent? If you do, I'd be curious what she says.

pollykahl
05-15-2007, 05:25 AM
"about a boy hunting deer for the first time with a BOW and ARROW, I had him picking up his spent RIFLE cartridges"

OMG slshwood, that is so funny! I only write non- and I find that I make all kinds of silly errors if I try to change what happened for any reason. It's actually helpful because, looking at it backward, if I read it later and see a writing brain fart, then I know something is not truthful and it needs to be corrected.

And I must set my writing down and come back to it a couple of days later to see how good or bad it really is. When I am in the zone, I am enthralled with everything I write, to the degree where sometimes I don't even see spelling errors. Later I can be more objective.

Fortunately it is easy to keep busy with other parts while I let one cool down for a couple of days, because it's all in chapters that are interconnected but also stand on their own.

I see you also are a newbie, so welcome to you.

No fiction. Very rarely even read it. Still too much good non- ahead of me to read and write!

Susan B
05-15-2007, 05:33 AM
Thanks for the interesting (and impressive!) responses!

Just to be a little clearer: I wasn't thinking of turning an existing memoir into a novel. I was thinking of using some of the material I'd been researching, in connection with what I'd imagined as my next book (a second memoir or at least narrative nonfiction) and instead incorporating it into a work of fiction. Maybe even a mystery. Something more entertaining than my actual life, in other words :-)

Susan

Susan B
05-15-2007, 05:36 AM
I am strictly a nonfiction kind of gal. I've tried writing fiction in the past, and I have a hard time keeping my story straight.

In a short story (1500 words) about a boy hunting deer for the first time with a BOW and ARROW, I had him picking up his spent RIFLE cartridges, and didn't notice my discrepancy for over a year.

Argh.

This gave me a laugh! Happens in nonfiction too. Just realized I'd written about having recorded the clinking of wine glasses at a jam session, then in another chapter referred to the plastic wine glasses that were always in use!

Susan