Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Non-Fic Wonders

So, last night I finished this book that I'd ordered on Amazon called "Passing for Thin: Losing Half of my Weight and Finding Myself" by Frances Kuffel (excerpt). Besides the fact that it was a look into my possible future, I was really struck by the writing and it got me thinking about my own life and ideas that I had for short stories. Most of the snippets that pump through my mind are actually non-fiction things. Stories inspired by scenes from my past. Of course I could turn them into fiction if I wanted to, it wouldn't be hard, but my question is: Is it good to be inspired by reality? Takes me back to a few posts by Speak Coffee and Margosita in regard to how much reality is in fiction. I didn't comment on their posts because I really wasn't sure. I know that I put a lot of myself in my lead heroines. Not all, but they're definitely inspired by things that I've gone through or things I wish I were/was/did. What's that old adage? Write what you know? Well... I know me (for the most part) so it's easier to make my ladies seem real if I pull from within.

I don't know... I suppose I'm wondering if I should look into a non-fiction class or two -- maybe a course on memoirs. I haven't decided what track to take while in school. Do I want to be a teacher, a publisher, an editor, an agent? I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I just want to publish novels and be successful at it (who doesn't, right?).

Anyway, I highly recommend Frances Kuffel's book. If you've ever had a weight problem, were curious about people with weight problems, or just want to read well-written non-fic, check this one out. As I was reading it felt like Kuffel had somehow cracked into my brain and stolen my stories, thoughts, and fears and wrote about them. It was a hard memoir to read because I could relate so much. It's sorta eerie reading something that you're so connected to. Kuffel and I are very similar. It was like getting a sneak peek into my possible future, which is a scary place should I wait another 20 years to get to my goal. There's also something strange about finding someone who has gone through many of the same things you have -- someone who has felt what you feel. There is some truth to those who say "you are not alone." We're not alone, it just feels like it most of the time. It's even stranger to realize that this person has already written your story. Sure, it's not going to be exactly my story, but it's similar. So what do you do when you're story's been done? I suppose you just do it better.

Anyway, I'm working out a lot of different scenes from my past and thinking about how to turn them into short stories. Too bad I can't get my pencil moving -- I have too much stuff in my head at present. I'm pretty overwhelmed. That and it's hot. I just can't function when I'm hot.

1 comment:

Speak Coffee said...

Margosita just did another post about her first assignment that ties into this too. her assignment was something like make it part your life part fiction (or something).

Anyway - I think that sooner or later all of my stories have a little bit of me in them. Either how I actually felt, or what actually happened to me or (bare minimum) I get into the character's head and the situation and think it through and then, even if I'm not being me, it is me.

If that last sentence didn't make sense, I apologize.

Anyway, it's always me, even when it's not me, because I haven't lived as anyone other than myself. I'm just good at pretending to be other people. But I'm not able to be other people. ... although I did start a sci-fi short that fell along those lines :)

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