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  1. #31
    Kitty Foyle

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Lewis, there's a difference between a memoir and an autobiography:



  2. #32
    M. Deschanel

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Arden is essentially correct, in that these days and after many memoir scandals, you will probably have to be prepared for vetting - by lawyers, fact-checkers etc., as if it were non-fiction. Publishers have been burned since Miss Snark wrote that. A good literary style can help sell a memoir, but its doubly harder, and as he said, the market is glutted.

    "Since memoirs are non-fiction--or "fiction" depending on the point-of-view--any of you have tips on adhering to a standard format? ".

    Memoirs are inherently meant to be non-fiction. They can be literary and impressionistic, but they are sold as "this really happened", and the howls of outrage and lawsuits and public executions by Oprah have shown that it's far more than POV.
    More than ever, once a memoirist begins inventing scenes, or "lying", presenting fiction as truth, it breaks trust with readers, and lawyers get called. This is not as flexible a line as it used to be, telling tall tales and selling them as nonfiction is not considered charming.

    So really, a memoirist today has the responsibilities of both worlds: make it as readable and lyrical as fiction, AND be able to prove things to lawyers and fact-checkers as meticulously as non-fiction. Not easy, but perhaps this will stop the flood of pointless, badly-written memoirs of recent years.

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