Two For The Price of None

January 27, 2006 | Writing

Two Blogs today. I’ll be back with the raising a daughter one in a while. However, I had to share my new category term for writers. If you don’t write romance, mystery, or chick lit, you can now write the fictionalized memoir. It’s about your life, but embellished to increase the changes of publication. I was watching James Frey defend everything he wrote, except his own name I wonder if it’s really his name, on Oprah yesterday. He admitted the Smoking Gun got everything right about his novel. I’m told that Frey’s book was originally categorized as fiction, but since he couldn’t get an agent or publisher interested in it, he changed it to a memoir, and BAM! It was sold, published, and made a lot of money.

As if writers don’t have enough to contend with, as if unpublished writers, that would be me, don’t struggle to write an excellent story, cope with being rejected by numerous agents and publishers, keep writing through family crises and jobs that we hate, and edit until the lines on the page blur. Here comes someone who apparently wrote a very chilling account of addiction and salvation, and it wasn’t all true. The one thing he kept saying that Oprah called him was he kept saying ‘the characters’ in his book. Oprah challenged the word. Characters are in novels, fiction. NOT in a memoir. HELLO!

I applaud Oprah for apologizing and confronting Frey on her program.

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