Memoir related question for writers here.

brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,252
This is a difficult question for me to even think about because just this morning I finished a music related memoir that I began two years ago and has gone through seven revisions.  I've gone to great pains to make it the absolute best work I can.  But then this morning  I sent a piece from it, a review of a show a friend of mine and his band did that I saw, for his consideration.  He was unhappy because I placed too much emphasis on is role in the band.  I rewrote the piece and sent it back to him and he like it a lot.  OK, fine, but wait!  Do I now do that with every section of an 88,000 word manuscript to make sure every single person in my life over the last 64 years is Ok with what I've written?  Or do I just throw the last two year of my life in the waste basket?  Right now I don't know what I need more- a drink, a shrink, or the ledge of a tall building.  Sorry, gallows humor.  I'm not going to jump off a roof.  Not literally!
We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
***********
M.I.T.S.

Comments

  • justamjustam Posts: 21,208
    edited June 4
    Brianlux,
    i think whenever you write about people you care for, you have to keep in mind whether or not what you write will hurt them and damage the relationship.  If you just write whatever you truly feel in a "damn the torpedos" type of way, you may end up with broken friendships or partnerships.  I think that's something to consider.  If you don't care about the individual, I suppose you can write whatever comes out...


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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,252
    justam said:
    Brianlux,
    i think whenever you write about people you care for, you have to keep in mind whether or not what you write will hurt them and damage the relationship.  If you just write whatever you truly feel in a "damn the torpedos" type of way, you may end up with broken friendships or partnerships.  I think that's something to consider.  If you don't care about the individual, I suppose you can write whatever comes out...


    I've tried to be careful that way but even still, some people may not want me to write anything about them.
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • justamjustam Posts: 21,208
    edited June 4
    Well, that's something else.  Are you willing to deal with their displeasure? If so, full steam ahead!
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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,252
    justam said:
    Well, that's something else.  Are you willing to deal with their displeasure? If so, full steam ahead!
    Well, my publisher has not put any time limits on my work so....

    oh, wait, I don't have a publisher, lol.  I guess I really do have all the time I want to think it over.  :smile:
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 10,622
    if the memoir is about people you know, it sounds perfectly reasonable to give emphasis on the people you know, i.e: this guy and his role in the band. I think asking for a critique from someone who is in the memoir is possibly a bad idea to start with. Most people won't like what they read; even if it's something you find inconsequential, everyone sees those they know differently than they see themselves, so it's likely there will be a "huh?" moment when reading someone else's take on you, for better or for worse. 
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,252
    if the memoir is about people you know, it sounds perfectly reasonable to give emphasis on the people you know, i.e: this guy and his role in the band. I think asking for a critique from someone who is in the memoir is possibly a bad idea to start with. Most people won't like what they read; even if it's something you find inconsequential, everyone sees those they know differently than they see themselves, so it's likely there will be a "huh?" moment when reading someone else's take on you, for better or for worse. 
    Good points, HFD.  Pretty much anytime I mention someone I know in the book it's basically like, "David and I went to see The Who" but nothing personal about David.  So probably the only one who might have reason to be embarrassed will be the author, lol.

    One more quick read through then I'll try submitting it a few places before giving in and shelling out the bucks to self publish.  After that I'll have to find something else to keep me out of the rocking chair.
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • rollingsrollings unknownPosts: 6,700

    Brian,

    my advice is to publish what you got and don't ask for approval.  Your friend was being humble but missed your point.

    Your point is your memoir.  Not anybody else's.  That's the point.

    A horse once heard Stone Gossard playing guitar on the other side of a wall. And that, my friends, is where giraffes came from.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,252
    rollings said:

    Brian,

    my advice is to publish what you got and don't ask for approval.  Your friend was being humble but missed your point.

    Your point is your memoir.  Not anybody else's.  That's the point.

    Thanks, Rollings, and yes, good advice.  I often think about how Edward Abbey subtitled his last major work, the autobiographical novel Fools Progress, as "An Honest Novel".  As best as possible, I've tried to keep a balance between not being unnecessarily offense yet honest at the same time. 

    I actually used my buddy's concern to work hard at re-writing that section (a show review for a gig his band, Carlton Melton, did) and my own take was that the revision was much better that what I'd written earlier.  I sent the revised piece to him and he responded with, "Cool!"  I felt great about that. 

    I'm just a bit over half way through the final revision and am finally seeing the finish line on the horizon!


    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
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