Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Truth in Story for Memoir or Fiction #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Life is messy. Very messy. Things don’t make sense. Sometimes we can’t figure out why someone does something. As humans, we want reasons for actions. We want order. And we want resolution to life stories.

Enter - the value of truth in memoir or fiction.

Our job as writers of memoir or fiction is to find the orderliness in story; the reasons for actions; and of course, the resolutions found at the end of the tale we tell. Make no mistake. This is difficult work. Especially for memoir.

Memoir needs to be true. Absolutely. No question there. If you change the setting [where things happen], you are writing fiction. If you change the timeline of events [what happened first, etc.], you are writing fiction. Dialogue needs to be something that the real person would normally say. Don’t worry about exactly what the person said on October 15, 2004. You will drive yourself crazy.

Memoir is your truth, your belief of what really happened in a scene. I’ve read that it is okay change people’s names, but you need to place a disclaimer in the front matter of the book to say the names have been changed. Has anyone received different advice on using real names of NON-famous people? Please share what you know here at Adventures in Writing.

Fiction, on the other hand, can be based on a true incident or real facts and real people, but the writer doesn’t need to stick to the facts as she would in memoir. Think of historical fiction here or real murders or kidnappings. Many great story ideas come from factual events. A writer begins with fact and then fictionalizes what happens, what the characters think, why they behave the way they do. Sometimes I get tied up in the facts; like the fact that a rip current has never happened in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, that I know of, yet that’s where I placed my most recent story sold to Cricket Magazine where a rip current was the major action in the story.   

But if we get back to that “messy life” and truth that I started the post with, the biggest job of the writer is to write a story that seems truer than life, whether it’s memoir or fiction. People read to discover the reasons for actions. And except for some literary stories, readers want closure at the end of the tale. They want resolution because life doesn’t always offer that resolution.

This is extremely difficult in memoir because, like me, you may not exactly know the reasons—and feelings—for every event you include in the memoir. How many times can I say I felt insecure; felt like an imposter or worried that I’d fail and that would be the end of my college career. Too many, according to my editor. And I agree with her. Of course, that leaves me staring at the computer screen and the scene I’m working on to discover “what else” Victoria could have been feeling at the time. It’s about going deeper into the emotion of the scene and not just relying on the surface emotion – insecure, imposter, worry. This is what writers need to do in memoir as well as fiction.

I hope you’ve found some insight in what I’ve written. Please offer insight of your own. It would be truly appreciated. Please ask any questions about my college memoir in the comments section of Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much!

And thank you for visiting Adventures in Writing. Please follow my blog if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in the comment so I can be sure to do the same for you. To continue hopping through more amazing blogs or to join our Author Toolbox blog hop, click here

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Insecure Writers Want to Know: What does the term Working Writer mean to you?

            I’m not sure if I’m blending two different terms here. Am I a working writer? Absolutely! I am forever writing and creating new short stories for market and blog posts and writing presentations and editing fellow writers and revising my college memoir and trying to keep up with social media. I so admire all of you who can keep up with the image of what I think a working writer does. Bravo!

            But if we interpret working writer to mean a successful writer, I am probably not the true working writer. I’m certainly not making enough money through my story sales and presentations and editing to pay the bills. That’s where the day job comes in, or in my case, my part time position as a substitute teacher—which is non-existent at the moment because of Covid-19 and the need for online schooling.  

When I think of the term working writer, I think of writers in their home offices, pitching ideas to agents and editors. I picture someone actually waiting to read what I create next. Many of you have a faithful audience who can’t wait for your next installment of stories or articles or blog posts. To me, that’s the mark of a true working writer. 

I’m more of the hopeful writer. I write constantly. I brainstorm scenes, inner dialogue, character motivation, and insight. And then I pray, hoping some publisher will be interested in my creation, will care about what I have to say to the world. I strive to create a following, people and readers who care about what Victoria Marie has to say through story or memoir or poetry. My values are family-centric. My YA stories deal with teens trying to help others understand them and their hopes and dreams. 

That being said, I realize I need to go out and find my audience, my followers; people who are eager to see what Victoria Marie creates with words. I look to you all, my faithful blog readers, as a source to help me explore the thick forest of publication and social media. I absorb your posts and newsletters, gleaning how you became published and successful writers; how you found the time to keep up with social media and still write your stories. 

I’ll be interested to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. It’s great having a topic to share our thoughts on each month. I am extremely thankful for all of you for being my sounding board and advisors in this writing and publishing journey.

Thanks so much for visiting! Please follow Adventures in Writing if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in your comment so I can be sure to do the same for you.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month.  To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.