Monday, August 23, 2010


It's raining.  Again.  Something I like but I'm sure my tomatoes won't.

Real life doesn't make good fiction. Discuss.

The editor who found my first novel in the slush pile years ago said that to me and I've taken it to heart.  Real life to be  readable has to be dramatized, massaged, structured because it's formless.  Even if it is interesting to you because it's a personal experience, the reader probably isn't going to get it.  I had a friend who kept writing books where the characters threw pie crusts instead of relating her own experiences which were incredible.  So incredible I turned one into a treatment for a TV movie and Dick Clark optioned it.  Fiction isn't your personal documentary.

I'm thinking about that Sweet Cider book which has roots in several personal experiences.  It becomes a process not of telling a story but of deciding what I'm trying to say.  Why are these incidents interesting to me?  What do they say about how life is lived?  What are the choices people make?  What is the concatenation of events and decisions?

See.  If I was writing about vampires, I wouldn't be asking these questions.  What a blessing for a storyteller-- to have nothing to say.

Here's blog post I recommend.  It's what Seth Godin has to say about publishing.  His new book is the last he's tradpubbing

"A little background: For ten years or so, beginning in 1986, I was a book packager. Sort of like a movie producer, but for books. My team and I created 120 published books and pitched another 600 ideas, all of which were summarily rejected. Some of the published books were flops, others were huge bestsellers. It was a lot of fun. As a book packager, you wake up in the morning and say, "what sort of book can I invent/sell/organize/write/produce today?"
It took a year or so, but I finally figured out that my customer wasn't the reader or the book buyer, it was the publisher."

Or might I add--agent.

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