Is It a Memoir or Novel? 

By  Meredith Resnick

Sometimes, it’s pretty clear an essay is the perfect way to convey a thought or feeling. But how do I know? Maybe I should be writing a short story.

Memoir or  novel?

Writing nonfiction feels so much more natural to me that writing fiction. Should that be my answer when I’m writing about something that happened?

Maybe, sometimes.

But the question is really how do you know when to take your true life and turn it into fiction and call it fiction? I believe that if you’re writing memoir, it has to be more than only emotionally true. Memoir is about memory, too, right?

Is it better to tell something that happened in the format of fiction because the emotional truth can be conveyed more fully, though symbolically?

My ongoing questions that only seem to get worked out in the process. Which once again means that the process, over all this, is most important to me.

About the author

I have kept a journal for more than three decades and always have some sort of notebook with me. I record my dreams. The writing I most love to do comes from fragmented ideas I've collected, or from a word or two written on a scrap of paper or the palm of my hand.

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