Writing Books/memoir


Dear Sandy,
  I have finally gotten my book in shape to approach agents. I have noticed that the submission requirements are different for fiction vs nonfiction.  I am writing my memoir. Although the stories are true, their order, characters, and dialog have been changed. There is no way I could remember a conversation from the 60ís. So do I treat my book as fiction or nonfiction? To me, if there is some fiction mixed in, then it must be considered fiction. Although I have seen some agencies websites list memoirs as nonfiction. Advice please. Thanks Dick Schlueter ()

Hi Dick,

This is an easy one and as the author of a published memoir I can answer without hesitation.  Memoir is non-fiction. In memoir what you are recording are your memories of events at a certain time in your life. The pertinent point is that it is not the actual events, but your memory of them. When you create a conversation from the past it will always be only your reconstruction (unless you had a tape recording!) - but it is judged to be non-fiction. What you remember is not expected to be a slice of historical accuracy, but rather the ambiance, the general tone and so on.

I hope that makes it clear ~ you are a non-fiction writer!  I wish you well and hope you find an agent to handle your work.



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Sandy McCutcheon


Author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a memoir and children's fiction.I can work with people on the process of writing, what to expect and ask for from an editor. How to work with the publisher`s marketing and publicity people. And how to survive book launches and publicity tours!


Published author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a young adult and three non-fiction titles. Visit his Moroccan blog at http://www.riadzany.blogspot.com for a look at his blogging work.

St Andrews, Helsinki University and other institutions. Adult Educator of the Year Award, Australia

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