Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Fun Facts: July/August 2010 Writer's Digest

"You have to really love what you're writing about to write a really good book..." ~Charlaine Harris

Sharing the latest news from Writer's Digest ~ this month's issue focuses on memoir writing, which isn't really my thing, but they always have some interesting articles for all writers. Among them:

"Based on a True Story" recounts one writer's chance encounter with James Frey, the infamous author of A Million Little Pieces who was lambasted by Oprah for fabricating large parts of his memoir. Many people called him a fraud, among other things, but the author of this article doesn't feel that way at all. She argues instead that all memoirists fabricate to a certain extent, because they are writers telling a story. (By the way, I don't agree with her. Because Frey couldn't sell his story as a novel, he marketed it as a memoir, which in my mind suggests much more "truth" than a novel does. If all of us seeking the elusive contract simply lied to get it, where's the integrity? But I digress...)

"Emerging as a Writer" talks about the value of MFA creative writing programs. While they require absolute devotion of huge amounts of time and energy (and money too, I'd guess, though the article doesn't mention that), they're also greatly rewarding. They allow you to surround yourself with fellow writers and delve really deeply into your own strengths and weaknesses. Not sure I'd ever go through with getting my MFA, but I wouldn't mind taking a class or two.

"In Her Blood" discusses the tremendous success of author Charlaine Harris, who writes the Sookie Stackhouse series (basis for the TV show "True Blood"). I've read some of her books and really liked them, even though I'm not a big vampire fan. Interesting to find out that she took exactly one creative writing class in her life and also that she spent many years writing "cozy mysteries" before she broke out of her own mold and tackled paranormal. And while she definitely credits the vampire/paranormal trend with boosting her own success, she also says giving herself the freedom to do something different, something she really wanted to try, added to it as well.

There's also an article called "Raising the Stakes" that I haven't looked at yet, about adding tension/stakes to your story. Definitely looking forward to that one!

Thanks again to the editors of Writer's Digest for producing another helpful issue!

1 comment:

Jessica Strawser said...

Many thanks for reading WD, and for your kind post about our latest issue here. So glad to hear it's been helpful to you in your writing life!

All best,
Jessica Strawser
Editor, Writer's Digest