It’s Fiction, Not Memoir

New business: This photograph is under consideration for the cover of The Angry Woman Suite. Like it/don’t like it? Don’t be shy . . . first thing off the top of your head—good? bad? Do you feel the “wistfulness”? Feedback appreciated!   

Penquin’s online community Book Country has launched a plethora of tools for authors to digitally publish, with distribution to all major outlets that Penquin distributes to. . . .

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet is making its appearance sooner than initially announced (sharing the love with Amazon’s new Fire).

Old business: Some time back, a non-writer friend, an avid reader, was looking over a very rough first draft of The Angry Woman Suite for me, a story with a double murder at its core (emphasis here for a reason), told by three narrators in different time zones.

One of these narrators is Elyse Grayson, a young girl at the start of The Angry Woman Suite, and eighteen at its conclusion. The other two narrators are males. Now, as I’ve written before, Elyse Grayson had me from the beginning of the story. She is the glue of this book, and the character I relate to. I didn’t want to leave her when the novel ended.    

Is that because Elyse is female and has understandable issues? (rhetorical question)    

Francis Grayson, on the other hand, her stepfather, was the most difficult character to move forward from a first-person point of view. First off, it was über difficult being male when I’m not, and, second, having to stay in Francis’ head for any length of time made me a little nutty—is that because he’s male (redundant) and has issues?

So this friend (the one who’d read the first draft of The Angry Woman Suite) and I were at lunch one day, menus still in hand, when she leaned over and asked almost conspiratorially, “Lee, did all those things really happen to you when you were a child?”

I was speechless—seriously speechless. “But this isn’t a memoir—”

“But what about Francis? Isn’t he—?”   

Since then, as The Angry Woman Suite has grown, and been read by more people and critiqued and commented on, I’ve heard again and again, “How much of this story is you; is any part of it true?”

Okay, so here’s the deal: other than writing these blog posts, I write fiction. Stories. I make things up. 

There is no double murder in my background.

Are you kidding? If there were, I would write a memoir—and a sequel.

As for creating characters with foibles and neuroses, well, ever since I can remember, I have watched and listened to people and wondered, “Really, is what you just said truth or bullshit? And if it’s bullshit—and you are looking like you’re believing your own shit —then which hat did you just pull that one out of?

And this, seriously, is the genesis of my storytelling. I make up stories to explain the otherwise (to me) unexplainable.

So, yes, there are people in my stories who are reminiscent of many real-life people I’ve either appreciated or puzzled over. We all work with the tools we have, what we can lay our hands on, what is familiar; what we know. And, like everyone else, I’ve had good and bad influences in my life—those influences are my tools.  

But, again, excepting the historical references to the American Revolution, The Angry Woman Suite is fiction.

And fiction is an art form I’ve loved from the very first Louisa Mae Alcott “big girl” novel (Rose in Bloom) my mother gave me when I was eight, to the novel we talked of as she lay dying (The Last of the Mohicans).        

Thanks for coming by—oh, and one other thing, and yes, it is about me *smile*: I met my Telemachus editor today. Her name is Karen, and she’s brilliant. She turned 40 pages back around to me thisfast—so there’s much to do (but it’s fun). Except I haven’t quite figured out the sleeping thing, as in where it fits in. I’ll be back on Monday—comments appreciated!

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8 comments on “It’s Fiction, Not Memoir

  1. Geri Wilson says:

    I was actually going to leave this comment on your last post, but it sort of applies here too. Another time I will talk about being 17 and how I imagined my adult life would be; but for now this is about E-books. This is “just in case” anyone out there is like me, without an E reader and wondering which one to purchase to have it in hand before your book is ready, so I can be in the first rush to download it. Well, if anyone else doesn’t know (I didn’t) the temporary answer is the Kindle for PC. It’s a nice little ap that you can download to desktop, laptop, whatever. You can easily download from amazon’s E book section and read the book from any of your computers that have the ap. Of course we all want an E-reader eventually, but with all the choices we have now, if you are not sure . . . take your time. You will be ready for Lee’s book whether you have an E-reader or not, all you need is a computer with the Kindle for PC ap. It is very easy to download and manage. Maybe I was the last one in America to discover this, but maybe someone else will find this information useful.

  2. I think the woman looks sad, not angry. But the picture is pretty small.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Kate. My first response was that she looked sad, maybe lonely. Can’t wait to read this book!!

    • She does look sad, huh? Which is fitting, b/c the young girl who narrates the story IS sad a lot of the time (and the “angry woman suite” is a suite of paintings). What I’m getting from emails and feedback here, tho, is maybe the photo just doesn’t go with the title of the book– something to think about! Appreciate you!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Keeping up with your posts, if nothing else. 🙂 Shelley

  5. Good blog post. I absolutely love this website. Keep writing!

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