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Shwebb
07-09-2007, 08:00 PM
I've wondered about this one.

Books by David Sedaris have been classified in a myriad way, depending on where I've done my book shopping--as memoir, essay, humor--and of course, his work encompasses all of those, at times.

Do you see some memoir as short vignettes, like a mosaic, that make up the total; sort of like an impressionist painting? Or as everything related?

Do you think about these things when you write your personal stories, and when does essay become life-story writing?

johnrobison
07-09-2007, 11:29 PM
In another forum, I suggested that entertaining collections of stories about "funny but trivial" events in one's life might be classified as, "Based on a true story."

Having recently sold my first book, I might also suggest that you're probably going to need to make yourself known before people will want to read short stories about you. That suggests writing a more serious work at first and perhaps following up with a short story collection.

Or write short stories about life - Fulghum's Kintergarden is an example of that.

Twizzle
07-18-2007, 07:00 AM
Having recently sold my first book, I might also suggest that you're probably going to need to make yourself known before people will want to read short stories about you. That suggests writing a more serious work at first and perhaps following up with a short story collection.


yes and no. I see them more as a string of stand alone creative nonfiction stories that when strung together tell a larger story. And this is humor--not totally memoir-- don't forget. If it's a good story, it's a good story. They don't need to know you ahead of time. Audience is important, though. Don't get me wrong.

I'm not sure you need to write a "serious" work first. There are instances where it wouldn't work. And alternate routes exist. Me, I'm putting a collection of articles (stories) I've written and published through a regular column together. My blog is an extension of that. All while writing a "serious" novel. It's a flip of the coin which'll go first, if at all. :)

Sakamonda
07-19-2007, 05:33 PM
Actually, if you've already published some of the pieces as a columnist, you might be OK shopping the book as humor. Humor books are often a series of short vignettes/essays strung together on similar topics; they make great "bathroom reading" and sell well also as gift books. Your book sounds more like straightforward humor to me than memoir per se. (And Dave Sedaris is usually marketed as a humorist, not a memoirist).

Twizzle
07-19-2007, 07:52 PM
:roll: wow. I'm writing bathroom reading. now how many can claim that?!

my dad will be thrilled. finally, something of mine he'll read.

Mine were columns based on flat-out stupid things my family and I have done. I'm expanding and linking them. Call it memoir, call it humor. Call it a great bathroom read. Just so someone wants to publish it...

hello? someone?

Q.Rious
07-20-2007, 08:36 AM
David Sedaris was first propelled to stardom via NPR. No, that is not a typo.

But he read "Santaland Diaries" on the radio and stirred up interest. So it isn't like he's just some random guy who wrote down some funny stories. He might portray himself that way, but it seems that he was always actually quite a performer, right from the get-go.

I would try submitting to online sites first, maybe? For instance, the website Common Ground is accepting submissions for humor. Maybe you can needle your way in there? Have something to point to before submitting book queries?

Twizzle
07-20-2007, 06:05 PM
Thxs Q. Yes, I knew about the NPR. The tapes are hilarious. :)

I would try submitting to online sites first, maybe? For instance, the website Common Ground is accepting submissions for humor. Maybe you can needle your way in there? Have something to point to before submitting book queries?

I appreciate the advice, and didn't mean to hijack the thread Shwebb. The articles have been published, I just need to finish compiling, link and expand them. And then convince someone to publish the book. easier said than done...:(

Shwebb
07-20-2007, 07:25 PM
T'wassn't a hijack, Twizzle! I was hoping for discussion on this stuff.

It's great that you already have so much work done--I love the idea of essays like little jewels painting a bigger picture of self and family and the stuff that holds us together.

Yeah, David Sedaris has always been creatively in the thick of things, from what it sounds from both his stories and his bio. (Love LOVE his sister Amy Sedaris, as well.) But it shows that there is a great market for stuff like his, and maybe even a memoir like that, right? What I like best about his essays is that he is able to make a point in the beginning; I get lost in the story, but he is always able to bring it back around quite nicely. Now--the literary anthology he edited I didn't care for much, and his fiction in Barrel Fever was just a little strange for my tastes. But his essays, I almost always love 'em.