Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fictional novel, true memoir: Not

Those of you who already know this, please, don't throw tomatoes, potatoes, or pie. Some quite intelligent writers have trouble with this one. (With each one of us, it's always something...)

This comes up a lot with new(ish), or not so new(ish) writers: In talking about their work, they say, "My fictional novel...."

No no no.

If you query an agent and you say this, you risk said agent pitching your project into the trash, or at the very least, sending you a form rejection letter.

Why is it a big deal?

Because agents figure that if you're writing a novel, you know it's fiction. Just as if you're writing a memoir, one hopes it's true. And if you say "fictional novel" or "true memoir" to an agent, it makes it easy for them to say no to you, and what with all the material slamming agents on a daily basis, if there's the slightest reason to say no, they will.

Of course they want to say yes. They want stellar work to come in the door, mailbox, email inbox, wherever! So make it easy for them to say yes. Learn the business of writing as well as the craft, and never ever ever say "fictional novel."


Amy said...

And perhaps even worse--don't offer up your fictional memoir.

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

Ha! So true.....