FICTION vs SEMI-AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Caroline Allen

Self portrait, Caroline Allen — Budapest 2006

Often new writers work from a semi-autobiographical viewpoint. We write about our families, our lives. We fictionalize it, but still the characters and setting are based on what we know. Well, we need to tell these stories. That’s often why we want to write. We see our lives as universal stories, full of truth and pathos that not only affected us, but can affect others.

I was working with a client on his book recently. He said: Everyone likes my final chapter the best, and it’s the only one that’s fully fictionalized. We started a discussion on why the fictionalized chapter might be more compelling than the ones based on “truth”. I realized that the same was true on a section of Earth, the novel I’m refining. The section most readers often liked the best was the most fictionalized. Here’s a snippet:

We were out back, on the porch. It…

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