Fiction is as Strange as the Truth


In Story Engineering Larry Brooks  writes, “Theme in any story is analogous to health in our daily lives – the abundance of it vs. the lack of it defines how well we function. A state of heath – and theme – is always present, good or bad, valued or not. Bad health leads to a compromised life. A lack of theme leads to a compromised story.”

I am finding that memoir and fiction writing are closely related. I used to think only poetry could improve my prose, but memoir is producing ideas that are very convertible.

Writers have been in trouble for presenting fiction as memoir. I am surprised that it has not more often been the reverse.

10 thoughts on “Fiction is as Strange as the Truth

  1. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist May 23, 2014 / 5:49 pm

    I think you have hit the nail on the head with your last sentence Bob. I think there is more memoir out there in the fiction world than there is fiction. In an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert she says that her fiction book will tell you more about her than either of her memoirs which were well polished pieces of writing where she edited her life severely. Her fiction work she relaxed, it was fiction after all, and she and her friends are much more evident in it as their true selves. Hemmingway also used his own life in his fiction and I could go on and on.

    • fictionfitz May 24, 2014 / 6:05 am

      Interesting references. Elizabeth Gilbert especially.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist May 24, 2014 / 7:51 am

        She is part of my study as she has written a couple of memoirs otherwise I’d know nothing about her. As it is I know too much about her……

      • fictionfitz May 24, 2014 / 7:54 am

        We especially enjoyed The Last American Man. As to knowing too much, that happens more often than I would expect…. to me.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist May 24, 2014 / 8:03 am

        Her work before Eat Pray Love was written quite a different style and was directed at predominantly a male population. I haven’t read it but was referring to The Signature of All Things which was written after both her memoirs.
        Better to know too much than to know nothing at all….or is it?

      • fictionfitz May 24, 2014 / 9:03 am

        our expression is more than I wanted to know. The guy in last American Man is what I saw as many women’s ideal until they know too much. I asked my wife to read it in hopes that I would be elevated. For a while I reaped the benefits.

  2. Carole Webber May 24, 2014 / 9:33 am

    Most of the memoirs /autobiographies have often changed my opinion of the authors. Sometimes I liked then better when I knew less about them..
    Maybe too much truth is too much

    • fictionfitz May 24, 2014 / 9:49 am

      Let’s get controversial. Isn’t what u say true face to face as well? There is a book with title something like people are nice until u get to know them.

  3. Carole Webber May 24, 2014 / 11:07 am

    Very true.

  4. Carole Webber May 24, 2014 / 11:09 am

    St Teresa of Avila said “Familiarity breeds contempt”

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