Friday, May 20, 2011
Compressed Time and Composite Characters
Good news! I sent my manuscript off to my agent. It's 293 pages and 79,759 words. I'm predicting my agent (hi, Laurie!) will suggest a whole bunch of things go. I'm predicting she'll want me to add a bunch. I'm pretty sure she won't say, "It's the most perfect thing I've ever in my life read and its on its way out the door to the biggest names in publishing." She is the boss, and I will do what she says, but one thing I'm not going to do is compress time or create composite characters - both common in memoir writing, and for reasons I understand, but can't abide.
This is my fourteen-year-story of coming to terms with what I believe to be Rojo's divinity (not that all kids aren't divine). It's about my spiritual journey accelerated by having a child that is special. It's about suffering that turns to blessings. It's about having to learn the same lesson(s) over and over and over again until they stick. It's about a perfectly imperfect life. And it's my life. And it's Rojo's life. And it's STM and Woohoo's, too. And the special people in our life. They each stand alone - none get rolled into one to make the story move forward.
My memory is flawed, and affected by menopause, post-traumatic stress and any other sundry human conditions, but to the best of my ability, what I wrote is what happened - in that order. It might be more exciting to move things all around, but then it wouldn't be memoir, in my opinion, it would be fiction.
So, in an effort to be authentic, I may be shooting myself in the foot - I guess we'll see...