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Memoir vs Fiction....what to do?


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#1 Rhonda Laabs

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 09:00 PM

I posted my query as non-fiction/humor on the query critique forum a few weeks ago. I received excellent feedback and as it turns out my book is actually a memoir...I think. It is my story and it is written in first-person. However, everything that I am reading it sounds like memoirs are difficult to market...unless you are a celebrity. Some advice has been to market it as fiction. How do I do that...my book is complete? Possibly the advise is for marketing reasons only?

I recently sent out 20 queries in third-person and I received 11 personal responses. They were all apologetic on some level that they could not successfully represent me and/or my story did not fit their project list, BUT I got responses. I am going to wait until after the holidays to send out my "new and improved" query in first person, but nervous that memoir may not be the way to go.

Thanks in advance for feedback. This forum has been very helpful!

Rhonda

#2 mwsinclair

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 04:05 PM

It probably means reshaping the manuscript to a degree, which obviously is work. It might mean adding scenes to more fully develop the characters. Real life often leaves people not fully developed; one of the many reasons why truth is stranger than fiction.

I think holding off on the new query makes sense. But if it's ready, you could post it up in the query forum and see what kind of response you get there.

Happy to hear we've helped. Keep plugging away! No one with any sense will ever tell you this is easy. I think it's worth it, though.

#3 Rhonda Laabs

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 04:12 PM

It probably means reshaping the manuscript to a degree, which obviously is work. It might mean adding scenes to more fully develop the characters. Real life often leaves people not fully developed; one of the many reasons why truth is stranger than fiction.

I think holding off on the new query makes sense. But if it's ready, you could post it up in the query forum and see what kind of response you get there.

Happy to hear we've helped. Keep plugging away! No one with any sense will ever tell you this is easy. I think it's worth it, though.


Thanks, it's ready. I will post it as revised and see what kind of feedback I get.

#4 TonyLuv

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:32 PM

So glad to have found this topic. I'm having a bit of the same problem. Most of the example queries in the query forum seem to be written for fiction. This leads me to assume that perhaps, writing a third person query for fiction may indeed be less difficult than the truth that is stranger than fiction memoir.

Plugging away until I get it right.

#5 Jean Oram

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:56 PM

Tony, you could try writing your query a couple of different ways and see which one stands out. Sometimes breaking the so-called "rules" leads to something that really works.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

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#6 Cammy May

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:02 AM

Funny, every other time I hear memoirs mentioned somebody is saying they're not wanted. Odd numbered folks say they're hot properties.

I guess any memoir could just be called a novel. Trouble is, would it have the dramatic shape to make that work? What I'm liking about memoir writing is you don't have to think it out...just yack. I love it.
But I'm also starting to wonder about some fictionalizing. One way or the other. (You could add fictional material to a memoir and still call it a memoir, or you could keep it memory but call it ficiton)
So far everything has turned about as I expected.

#7 mwsinclair

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 11:18 AM

In regard to calling fiction "memoir," you may want to review James Frey, A Million Little Pieces....

#8 Cammy May

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:56 AM

I'm aware of it. Little different situation. That was, if memory serves, a completely fabricated story which he told the PUBLISHER was a true account of events in his own life.
So far everything has turned about as I expected.

#9 mwsinclair

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:40 PM

From what I recall, he used drugs but not to the extent he wrote in his memoir. Also, he claimed to have been incarcerated for about three months and had been spoken to for about five hours.

#10 Cammy May

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    They can reject me, blacklist me, ignore me... but they can't take Tara away from me.

Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:05 AM

Yes, I believe that's the same James Frey you keep mentioning.
So far everything has turned about as I expected.




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