The Nakedness of the Non-Fiction Memoir

Although the biggest portion of what I read is fiction, I’ve been reading a few non-fiction books lately. I was struck with the idea of how well we get to know an author who’s writing about her personal life. There are so many details and nuances we experience in the reading that we would probably never encounter even if were close friends. Details about holiday traditions, internal dialogues, various mannerisms, mundane events and so on. I would have to think that authors that put these kind of memoirs out encounter fans that feel they know them, even though they’ve never met. It can be a very brave thing I think to write about your life in such a way, even if you still keep your biggest secrets locked away.

Don’t Get Stuck Reading 100% of the Same Genre

Choice for the modern individual has evolved far from what it once was. Consider that major publishers in the U.S. alone publish about 300,000 books each year. Essentially, whatever your favorite genre of choice, you’ll never run out of good books to read.

And I think that’s dangerous. Books help us escape, certainly. But they also help us grow and better understand the word and the people around us.

Read outside your genre. Discover subjects and ways of thinking that you wouldn’t ordinarily consider. Be open.

Are you primarily a reader of science fiction and fantasy (like me)? Read a biography, or a memoir, or a book on wine tasting.

Here’s my suggestion, for every three books you would normally read, make that fourth book one out of your usual wheelhouse.

The Inevitable Impressions of Good Writing

How often has this happened to you? You’re working on a novel, and simultaneously you’re reading a good book or story. And as you’re reading, you start thinking, “Hmm, maybe I should do something like that in my story.”

It happens to me constantly. I’m considering changing the entire genre/sub-genre of my novel just because I read a couple of good short stories. It’s crazy, right?

My excuse his time is that I’ve never read this particular genre/sub-genre, but still, it seems a bit drastic. Of course, I usually advocate drastic, so I’ll do it.

I never plagiarize, but I do tend to zero in on emotions, moods and character relationships. I was just reading a story about this group of friends who were a team with one, aristocratic leader. It was done very differently from what I was used to reading, and I became inspired.

Here’s a completely different thought I had recently. The word “unspeakable” is horrible, isn’t it? Because it’s non-specific, it calls on the worst possible thing you can think of, which is, of course, horrendous. It very much reminds of Lovecraft, who often referred to things so dark and horrible that to just know of them would drive a man insane.