Posted by: Patrice Fitzgerald | April 12, 2010

Memoir vs. self-help vs. fiction

Hello Blog Followers!

I’ve been distracted with many things musical and otherwise, but I am back at last.

I have hardly touched my book since the end of last year.  Part of that was purposeful; to give myself some perspective.  Part of it was procrastination.  I am strong in the procrastination areas!  (So proud.)  And part of it was because when I actually picked it up, and began to read the first chapter (remember the weeper who saw angels?) I was oh-so-weary of rethinking those same pages.  Naturally, the first chapter is the one I’ve thought about, shared, and rewritten about 52 times, as opposed to the last chapters, which I’ve looked at maybe twice.  In fact, there are parts of the book in which I barely know what I wrote!

Since no agents have called at my door (yet) begging to be allowed to publish my soon-to-be bestselling memoir cum self-help book [cum means “with” in Latin, and it’s a perfectly acceptable academic word, you pervy weirdos who search sketchy terms on the intertubes], I am taking a hard look [okay, now I’m getting paranoid about even innocent words appearing in a sentence together] at the ms. again and considering which of the following forms I want to go with:

1) memoir, which has the advantage of letting me be me, and gives me the ability to promote my book as being about me myself, but apparently agents etc. are sick of memoirs… but they haven’t yet read mine!

2) self-help, which is rarer (and has its own bestseller lists… just in case) and folks are less sick thereof, but said form requires me to indicate or fake some sort of expertise, and all I really have — or claim to be expert in — is my own experience.  I mean, I’d be happy to write about other people down the road, in bestselling superwise advice books no. 2 and 3, but this book is full enough with just my own adventures.  Or…

3) novel, which lets me embroider at will, and solves the problem of feeling so exposed and having other folks all up in my bidness (and if a girl is too worried about this, she better forget about writing a memoir), but also makes it all sound fake, after I’ve gone to the trouble of making it all the sterling truth — because the truth is pretty funny — plus it means that when Oprah renews her talk show contract in 2011 and starts up a new book club because of the brilliance, humor, and gosh-darn-it wisdom of my book and how it forced her out of retirement to bring this glorious tome to the world, I can’t admit that it’s all about me!

Anyway, I’m going to sit down and read it over the next couple of days, see what I’ve got, and make a decision.  I so want to get this message out to other folks, about finding love and learning about self and having a fun time along the way.  So Ima do it!  Someway somehow.

And in the meantime I’ve been having a blast writing wickedly surprising short stories and sharing them with my excellent, supportive, and fun critique group.  Thanks, guys!

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