When a Story Needs to Be Told

When people ask what I write, I always answer fiction; then, I mumble a caveat, “I’m also working on a memoir.” Why I do this, I don’t know. Is there any writer’s law against writing nonfiction as well as fiction? Is it permissible to write in two entirely different genres?

No doubt, there are major differences in writing a memoir from, say, a short story or a novel. For one thing, a memoir is a reflection on a part or time of one’s life. It focuses on how the narrator was changed from the circumstances incurred. It deals with strong emotions. . .sometimes, even painful feelings that the writer experienced then and, perhaps, even now. Unlike fiction, the events are those that actually happened, the dialogue written from memory, the details recollected as best as they can be.

Yet, like fiction, writing memoir also involves disassociation, where the writer mentally drifts to a different time, a different place. Here is where a writer momentarily saunters into another sphere. . .a place where only the author is allowed to trespass.  In this spot, a writer either relives a past life or existence, as in memoir, or visits a place of one’s own created making as in fiction.

Life has a way of calling to writers like a light breeze swaying a pine tree. When a story needs to be told, whether fiction or nonfiction, a true writer will pay heed, will listen closely. The beckoning seems to linger until the call is answered.

At least, this is what happened to me. For several years, I heard that voice, telling me I needed to put my story to paper. Why? Multiple reasons, I say. I needed a physical closure that only a completed memoir could bring. I longed to tell others my story, so that they might benefit from its words. It was time for me to openly and publicly express how my life was changed because of what I had faced.

Certainly, this does not, by any means, mean I will never return to my made-up worlds and created characters.  As a writer, I know one thing for sure. I am obligated to listen to life’s call and to follow in whatever genre that might be.

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  • Delphine Boswell

    Delphine Boswell is a published writer of fiction who writes suspense, mystery, psychological horror, and dystopian stories. Her short stories have been published in numerous anthologies, and she has written seven novels to date.
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  • Reader Reviews

    This first book in the Dana Greer mystery series creates a believably conflicted female Catholic detective. Dana Greer must strive to solve the murder of a child against the backdrop of a wonderfully-rendered 1950s Maine island society. Issues of good and evil, of religion and hypocrisy, of truth and lies between men and women, enrich the novel. We can look forward to future entries in the series with delighted anticipation.
    Wayne Ude, Director of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA program
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