Tag Archives: E.M. Forster

I can’t tell you how often I read early drafts of memoirs that are thorough, lively recordings of events, great for preserving family history but absolutely unsatisfying as memoirs.  First this happened, and then this, and then this… Even when the events are shocking, amazing, horrific, terrifying, or otherwise scintillating, the drafts read like flat historical records. Some authors stop there.  Their purpose is creating a record of events, or simply getting down the story satisfies their needs. But a record of events is not a memoir, and I’ve just discovered a new way to explain why.  I’m reading Janet Burroway’s master-text, Writing Fiction:  A Guide to Narrative Craft, awed by how smart and practical her advice is and by the ludicrous fact that this book is no longer in print.  Burroway’s exploration of the difference between story and plot is an excellent guide for writers needing to make the…

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