Welcome to Writing Wednesday.
I know a few of you that follow my blog are writing memoirs. So I thought I would talk to you about the workshop I attended at the WVWriter's Convention called How Creative is Creative Non Fiction by Jim Minick. I thoroughly enjoyed his workshop. The room was full and they kept coming. He laughed each time the door opened and more people walked in. Someone finally left the room in search for more chairs. He said, "I didn't think this workshop would be so popular."
He is the author of The Blueberry Years. You can visit his website here.
You can go here for an excerpt from The Blueberry Years.
His workshop was very informative.
Some of the things I learned from the hand outs and from the conversation was that:
Memory, one of our key tools, in unreliable, so how much leeway do we have to use our imagination to fill in what is half-remembered - and still call our work nonfiction?
You select and dramatize for clarity and suspense. You don't change the basic plot or invent characters, but you might -
Condense Time - Let your readers know what you are doing - and why.
Recreate Once-Heard Dialogue
Make Composite Characters
Stretch Out Key Scenes
You have to think about: Ethics, Intent - it helps us resist the urge to change facts, just to make a better story, Elaboration, Honesty, Authenticity - justifying adding the details, Emotional Truth vs. Factual Truth.
You have an obligation to the people you are writing about and to your readers.
I leave you with a few quotes:
"Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth." Picasso
"I am an artist...therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth." Ursula LeGuin.
"Memory has its own story to tell." Tobias Wolff