Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not writing a memoir

The speaker at our writers' group was Ellen Urbani, author of When I was Elena, published by the Permanent Press. She gave a wonderful talk, about what makes a memoir different from a journal,  choice of characters and creation of voice, how an agent or publisher might define truth as fiction, how hard it is to sell books that cross genres even though crossing genres might be what makes your book unique, how current events effect sales and the questions asked in interviews, the need to have answers even when your interviewer hasn't read the the book, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of small publishers over big ones. She was fantastic!

Of course, I'll never write a memoir, but I can't use my favorite reason anymore. Ellen said she didn't like keeping a journal, and there was I thinking memoir writers couldn't exist without one. Ah well, so much for that excuse.

We led into Ellen's talk by all answering those three questions about our writing lives. And yes, it was hard keeping our answers to single sentences. So now I'm writing the longer version on my Refracted blog. But it's not a memoir. Memoir has to rise above similar tales, and has to have something unique to offer the reader. I'm not sure my notes fulfill either requirement, but it's kind of fun setting them down in writing all the same. If you feel like wandering over to see my Refracted Muse, I'd love to know what you think.

1 comment:

maryrussel said...

Wish I could have been there. It sounds like she's an interesting and informative speaker.