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Writing A Non-fiction novel
Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013 4:43 PM
Joined: 8/9/2013
Posts: 2

I am writing a book about my life story, which centers around domestic violence.  The book is a novel based on love, romance, deceit, adultery and alter-egos.  Because I am talking about myself, I am torn about using narration on some parts because I become my alter-ego.  Does anyone have an input on how I should write my dialogue and how I should narrate?
Lucy Silag
Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013 4:22 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1356

Hi @pbsnow2000--welcome to Book Country! I thought I'd point you in the direction of our video tutorials just in case you wanted a visual intro to the site. You can also ask me any questions you might have as you navigate. Very glad to have you here.


I hope that the Book Country community will be of help to you as you write your book. It sounds like a very powerful story.


In order to point you toward the best Book Country resources and connections, I was hoping I could clarify the genre of book you are writing--is it fiction based on a true story, or true nonfiction?


Looking forward to finding out more!


Lucy Silag

Book Country Community and Engagement Manager

--edited by Lucy Silag on 8/11/2013, 4:23 PM--

Jay Greenstein
Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013 5:24 PM

I mean no insult, but asking a bunch of unpublished people for the best way to handle dialog and exposition is the road to failure. If we knew what editors will reliably smile at we'd all be published.


Handling your prose in the best way is a highly complex subject, with many factors that change depending on intensity of scene, situation, and POV mode selected. It's also a subject we need to master if publication is our goal. Knowing your craft won't guarantee you publication, but ignorance of it pretty well guarantees failure.


A good, free, place to begin is with Jack Bickham's, Elements of Fiction Writing - Scene and Structure. It's close to the best book on the why's and the how's of fiction.

Does anyone have an input on how I should write my dialogue and how I should narrate? - See more at:

Toni Smalley
Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013 9:18 PM

We may not know what editors want, but we can learn about the mechanics by reading various styles of memoirs and maybe you will find techniques you can utilize. But, here are some things I thought of


You could experiment with different POVs, write in first person, then write your alter-ego in third-person.


You could also write down the various topics, events you want to describe, then split the book into individual essays. With individual essays, you could develop a different mood, tone, voice that best suits the particular event you are transcribing.


The website has a bunch of samples and information on creative nonfiction, which is something you might consider. 


I have a book (which I haven't read yet), but it looks promising. It is called Writing Life Stories by Bill Roorbach where he talks about how to turn your life story into a book and how to get it published. 


Good luck!



--edited by Toni Smalley on 8/17/2013, 9:19 PM--


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