Rhyme to the Reason, Method to the Madness


Over the weekend I came across an article written by Sarah S. Davis @BookRiot. The headline article, 10 Books That Break Genre Rules, naturally caught my attention, and then really revved up my thoughts when I saw one of Truman Capote’s books included in the article. Following with the flow of the article, Capote’s book apparently broke a genre rule by mixing fact with fiction.

Now, I read ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote years ago...way back when the book was categorized True Crime. Fast forward two decades and I learned the book was a novel, which had me scratching my head, save for waving off the narrative until this article where incidentally, in the same paragraph citing how Capote’s book mixed fact with fiction, also referenced ‘A Million Little Pieces’ (by James Frey).

Without expounding too far on the subject, since this is not exactly where I’m going, yet important to include what inspired writing this post; All literature, strictly classified and by default, break ‘genre’ rules. I have yet to read one memoir, or nonfiction for that matter, where once the book gains notoriety it is not challenged and flagged for containing ‘inaccuracies’ to ‘outright fallacies’ of unrivaled sizes. Not one.

The best way to see genre categories is to think of them as generalizations that make it convenient for booksellers and librarians to shelve books, and thus readers to find books.

All that Tapioca out there, the article got me to thinking about my insatiable appetite for reading memoirs. Back in the day I don’t recall a genre called memoir. It was either a biography, typically written by a journalist, or an autobiography, authored by the subject. Both were housed in the nonfiction section.

I believe, so don’t quote me on this, but memoir became a genre when autobiographies were either unable to be corroborated or simply not corroborated. Whichever the case, I was overjoyed about memoirists being free to write their stories as they remembered them. I’m a big girl. One of the best aspects about reading memoirs, also called creative fiction, is reading between the lines.

And yet I paused, asking if ‘today’s’ memoirists, many who write one book, ‘often with the help of a writer, or how about a ghostwriter,’ are REAL WRITERS?

This was what interested me about the article. Times are changing. It’s funny, often in a comical way, other times in a bizarre way, taking note of the changes. I’ve always been a genre reader, enjoying realistic stories with depth, opposed to fawning over one author. It therefore was easy falling into the memoir niche, given most old-school ‘adult’ literature (fiction included) was written realistic-based... i.e., In Cold Blood.

Moving forward however, I’m giving the matter a little more thought. While it is humane to encourage reading worldwide, and important to ensure real storytellers—namely my aspiring best-selling peers—appreciate the finer historical tenants of literature, and great storytelling in general, it is similarly important to instill trust that building audience is ALSO to the benefit of anyone sincerely invested in literature.

“It’s hard to do road work when you are sleeping on silk sheets.” Marvelous Marvin Hagler (Inside ‘Pain Don’t Hurt’ by Mark ‘Fightshark’ Miller)

#AmWriting #AmRevising #AmEditing #JustBlogged #DontEverGiveUp

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