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Thread: Memoir question

  1. #1
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    Memoir question

    I wrote and published a memoir that dealt with one part of my life, and then I started writing a different memoir that dealt with a completely different aspect of my life. I have reached an area where my two stories have intersected. I know this sounds kinda weird, but is it OK to take similar passages from one memoir and use them in another?

    Any thoughts?



  2. #2
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    I'm not sure. I haven't read many two-part autobiographies, but the ones I have, each one had a definite starting and ending point that didn't usually overlap. Sure, there will be a few events that are written about in each book, but they're usually written from a older or younger viewpoint depending on which book it is.

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    Similar to what? Do you mean copying material verbatim from book one into book two? Or rewriting it so it's got a different slant or tone or whatever so that it's not verbatim?

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    It seems to me that if you are self-publishing again, you can do whatever you like.

    Are you self-publishing?

    And if this second memoir deals with a "completely different aspect" of your life, why would you include the stuff from the first book, anyway?
    Last edited by leslee; 03-04-2012 at 04:39 PM.

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    The first memoir deals with living with a wife and son with a rare form of Cancer. The second is a memoir about being a teacher. There is a section in the first that discusses being a new teacher having to deal with many surgeries. I am self publishing the first book Leslee. I plan on selling copies at workshops and seminars I give.

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    Jayce, I am not copying verbatim, but the events are the same with a different focus.

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    I am self publishing the first book Leslee. I plan on selling copies at workshops and seminars I give.
    I am not copying verbatim, but the events are the same with a different focus.

    In that case, you can handle it any way you like.

    It's written and published by you, and about you. Why would you think it wouldn't be okay to use the passages as you are describing? You don't have an agent or editor to please. You're entirely in charge of what you publish.

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    Sounds valid to me. Can't be much different from writing a sequel, where the author might perform a little "repetitive narration" to bring new readers up to speed on certain aspects of, say, the back story. In your case, you're dealing with life history—facts—which you are presenting, as you said, with a different focus. Go for it.
    Last edited by jayce; 03-04-2012 at 06:27 PM.

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    Thanks Leslee and Jayce.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greg winick View Post
    Jayce, I am not copying verbatim, but the events are the same with a different focus.
    I agree that this would be fine to do. (I have my doubts that either would be marketable.)

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