Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another Memoir Down the Tubes

I just had to take a quick break from my Tools for Writing Success to interject some thoughts and opinions because--I just don't get it. What is so hard about writing a memoir that actually sticks to the facts? I just read in the New York Times that another author Margaret Seltzer, not only fabricated the memoir (like James Frey) but made up the whole thing. Isn't that called fiction then? Why didn't she try to sell it as fiction?

Riverhead Books, a branch of Penguin Group USA, was the publisher and now they have to recall all the books and basically eat all the costs that accrued over the last three years of working with Seltzer. I guess it never occurred to them to check the facts of her story.

Between Margaret Seltzer, James Frey and Misha Defonseca, this really messes things up for the rest of us who might want to write and publish a legitimate memoir. Publishers/agents/editors might become gun shy and may not even want to think about heading down the memoir road with an author.

The author is apparently devastated
The agent won't comment
The editor is shocked
I am just sick to my stomach

I guess this is a good reminder to all who write non-fiction of any kind-
as Sergeant Joe Friday would say, "just stick to the facts ma'am."

Happy truthful Writing!

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