Writing Memoir and Fiction
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the demands of writing memoir versus writing fiction, because as you see from my website I do both. Goodreads has a number of authors' discussion groups on this and I have been contributing to them here and there.
Ultimately, my view is that memoir blends into fiction. There is no such thing as pure objectivity. What the author of memoir has to do though - as does the author of fiction - is make sure his or her facts are right. A memoir necessarily will give the author's perspective on events and dialogue will be invented / recreated as best as possible, emotions conjectured to make the "story" work, experiences adduced or distorted to heighten drama. But it is still a memoir, since it is the author's memory of history and his or her interaction with it.
The first book in my trilogy of cold war escape stories, FOR THE CHILDREN, (due out this spring) treats my family's escape from Hungary and immigration to Canada. It is a memoir of experiences, feelings, events that happened, but all from the remembered perspective of the seven year old child I was at the time, interlaced with the history of the time. I have also woven some of the elements of my family's history and escape in a small way into my just-published novel, TWISTED REASONS - the rest of the story is fiction but based on a lot of fact. With my novels, what I love to do is pack in a lot of learning for the reader about a relevant issue or problem, and build suspenseful and titillating drama around it. This is what I did in ARCTIC MELTDOWN and TWISTED REASONS, and this is what I am doing with the current thriller I am working on (THE RAINBOW VINTNER) and this is what I will do with the rest of the TWISTED TRILOGY.
Happy reading in the New Year!