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John DeDakis

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Member Since: May, 2006

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· Bluff (Kindle Edition)

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· Why I'm a Man Writing as a Woman

· I'm Afraid to Write!

· Advice on Writing a Novel

· Ode to a Mentor (or Letter from the Grave)

· Hope Can Spring From Tragedy

· Whittling it Down


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· Half Our Lives Ago

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· From Novice to Novelist

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Blogs by John DeDakis

You Should Write a Book
4/21/2010 2:08:23 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]


Easier Said Than Done


Most writers are motivated to write because of things that have happened to them. And the first instinct is to write it as a non-fiction autobiography because the experiences are so vivid and personally profound. Often, well-meaning friends who've heard you recount portions of the story exclaim, "You should write a book!"

But they don't realize just how hard that actually is.

One reason it's harder than most people think is that if you're writing non-fiction, your editor will need to know more of the facts and context of any given story than you - from your narrow and limited point of view - actually know. So, as you try to write FACTUALLY, you'll discover that you don't know nearly as many facts as you thought you did.

Of course you can set out to find those missing details, but, as a journalist, I can tell you that the process is time-consuming, expensive, and fraught with all kinds of difficulties. And perhaps the biggest difficulty is that if you're writing things that are unflattering about a person, you could get sued for defamation of character. Even though what you're writing is true, if the person's not a public figure, you could lose a lot of money defending yourself in court.

It ain't worth it.

Not only that, but, publishers are less likely to want to make your story into a book because you're not well known, making it harder for them to sell the story of a nobody to the general public. Publishing is, after all, a business.

So.......?

Here's what I suggest:

Use those personal stories as a way to inspire your imagination. Change some of the details of the events and characters so that the real people won't recognize themselves, then build a story that still conveys the deeper "truth" you want to communicate. If you have a vivid imagination you'd be on firmer ground going in that direction. That's because you get to "dream up" the facts, something an editor of non-fiction won't let you get away with.

That's how I dreamed up my first novel "Fast Track." The book got its start because of two traumatic experiences in my life: a car/train collision I witnessed as a kid, and my sister's suicide. But, instead of recounting what happened in the style of a just-the-facts-ma'am journalist, I made up an entirely different story - a mystery/thriller - that still highlights themes and truths surrounding sudden death and suicide. I used my imagination to create a story that would resonate with people who don't know anything about me personally.

If you're able to camouflage the true events that happened to you and create a compelling story that still conveys a deeper "truth," you may be able to write not just one book, but ten, simply by using what happened to you as your creative muse.


Comments (2)

More Blogs by John DeDakis
• Ode to a Mentor....Or Letter from the Grave - Thursday, September 23, 2010
•  You Should Write a Book - Wednesday, April 21, 2010  
• Ever Feel Inadequate? - Tuesday, April 20, 2010
• Change is Good - Tuesday, February 23, 2010
• Overcoming the Fear of Rejection - Tuesday, November 03, 2009
• Beating Writer's Block - Tuesday, October 27, 2009
• What a Manuscript Editor Does (and Doesn't) Do - Monday, September 07, 2009
• Confessions of a Cross-gender Writer - Saturday, July 04, 2009
• 5 Ways to Stay Organized While Writing a Novel - Tuesday, May 19, 2009
• Writing for the Ear; Writing for the Eye - Sunday, May 17, 2009
• Plan a Little; Write a Little - Friday, May 01, 2009
• Building a Novel - Friday, April 10, 2009
• Writing a Screenplay - Tuesday, February 17, 2009
• VICTORY! - Wednesday, January 07, 2009
• A Creative Setback...and Opportunity - Wednesday, May 14, 2008
• Heading to the Inca Trail - Saturday, September 15, 2007
• Solving the Time Problem - Thursday, April 05, 2007
• Simmer Mode - Saturday, March 31, 2007
• The Art of Flitting - Friday, February 02, 2007
• Brooding - Monday, January 29, 2007
• Scene Building - Sunday, January 14, 2007
• Getting Stuff Done - Tuesday, January 09, 2007
• Connecting - Sunday, December 03, 2006
• Making Revisions - Friday, December 01, 2006
• In Search of Balance - Sunday, November 12, 2006
• The (sort of) Daily Muse - Thursday, November 09, 2006


Wound Too Tight by TJ Perkins

A pirate's treasure, a fateful curse and an enchanted pocket watch could be the end of 6 boys in Maine if a coded inscription on the inside of the watch isn't figured out.....  
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