Write On! Roundup #2
More Intricacies of POV
Welcome to our second Roundup, everyone! This is your biweekly writers’ Q&A from the MFA Lore section of Legacy & Lore.
I appreciate this week’s terrific questions. I’m in the thick of these same issues with my own work, so it was good to give them a bigger think here.
Before we plunge in, please remember that writing is a game that requires us to break as many rules as we observe. Prescriptions are for pharmaceuticals, not literature. So, while these answers reflect my literary preferences and experience as an author and teacher, they’re only my advice. Never forget that you are the author of your work, so the ultimate decision for what goes on in your pages lies with you.
Bottom line: you can do anything on the page, as long as it works to serve your narrative purpose. The harder part for most of us is figuring out exactly what that purpose is!
Thank you to, , and for today’s topics!
To fictionalize, or not to fictionalize?
Under what circumstances should a 1st person memoir be transformed into a 3rd person novel?
You’re really asking two separate questions, so let’s take them one at a time.
1. Should you write your story as a memoir, or as a novel?
There’s no universal rule here, but first and foremost, it depends on your purpose in writing the story. If your goal is to tell your personal story in your own unique voice so that others will understand what you’ve lived through, what shaped you, why your individual view of the world is a little different from everyone else’s [what makes you unique] and, at the same time, how it relates to everyone else’s [what makes you human], then you probably need to stick to memoir.
Remember, though, that “memoir” label functions as a vow to readers that your story is authentic, accurate to the best of your recollection, and that you believe what you’ve written. Even if you’ve reimagined or guessed at the incidental details, what you’re aiming for in a memoir is the underlying truth of your experience.
This is your biweekly writers’ Q&A from the MFA Lore section of Legacy & Lore. Become a paid subscriber to read the whole Roundup.
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