What made you decide to turn your experience with your friend’s death into a novel, rather than write a memoir? I’m working on a memoir project, but I keep wondering if it wouldn’t be a better read as a novel based on my experiences. It might be a cop-out though, because then I could change names to protect the guilty.
Funny - I never once considered writing my life story.
For several reasons: 1) my life story isn't that interesting. These days, memoirs have to have a very strong hook to them to sell. Sure, everyone thinks they have a story to tell, but it's sort of akin to how you think your dreams are totally interesting and weird, and then when you relay them to friends, their eyes glaze over. Publishers aren't interested in your memoir unless you're like, the person who discovered the cure for AIDS in her basement or something. 2) I have no interest in putting my friend's struggle with cancer up for public consumption in the way that a memoir would. Really, that's her story to tell, and I'm not the one to tell it. And, getting back to point A, losing a close friend to cancer isn't such a unique story that I think publishers would be chomping at the bit for a memoir. At least, not as I could write it. Maybe if I had a more exotic life, and this was just one facet, then sure, but not as of now. 3) These days, you better be damn sure that every last word in your memoir is truthful (see: Frey, James), and I wasn't at all interested in telling a factual story. What I love about writing fiction is that I can pull something completely out of my imagination and find a way to make it work. I get to breathe in experiences through my characters that I've never had the opportunity to explore in my real life, and for me, that's exhilarating. The "creating something from nothing" is probably what I enjoy most about the process of fiction, and since writing a memoir offers none of this, I ain't interested.
Though...hmmm....it should would be fun to run fear into the hearts of my ex-boyfriends when the project was announced. On second thought.... :)
So, what say you readers? Why do you choose fiction over memoirs or vice versa?