Home : Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, and the Nature of Truth

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Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, and the Nature of Truth — 3 Comments

  1. I really don’t think memoirs of any kind – bios or personal can ever be classed or indeed written as pure non-fiction. Unless you’re writing about the sciences perhaps (and not even then always) the ungarnished truth never serves to engage any normal reader (and I include ‘experts’ in the field here as well) which is where many ‘how to’ books fall by the wayside because they’re too full of arcane or complex descriptions that have the brain waving a white flag as the eyes begin to glaze with desperation to find something less challenging to take in.

    We all learn easier (and quicker usually) if a story is related intelligently AND intuitively, rather than have to deal with a series of unadorned facts in strict sequence – pace is important too and flash-backing, or jumping ahead, can sometimes solve a number of problems with flow. Making it up doesn’t necessarily mean you always have to adulterate the truth outside of the world of fiction 😉

  2. Very well written! Great job exploring the memoir. I usually advise others that the first thing is to get it all out about the topic. Most of the time what you’ll find is that after you’ve done that, the memoir is really not what you thought it was going to be about anyway. You find yourself writing about things that you didn’t even think you were going to write about, and in that case it’s okay to change your mind. The real beauty in a memoir is that everyone has a different story to tell.

  3. My sister once complained about my revisionist version of my childhood (which led to many a song and story.)

    I could only think of Geoff Chaucer’s response in “A Knight’s Tale” — “I am a writer. I give the truth scope!”

    Just finished reading book 3 of Jude Southerland Kessler’s 9-volume biography of John Lennon. Masterful. She is the empress of cross-referenced fact-finding. But when it comes to writing, she tells a story, and if she has to include some interstitial dialog to make it work, she does so (and dutifully points it out in the endnotes of each chapter.

    Truth, as far as anyone can know it about an enigma like John, but presented as an irresistable story.

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