Tag Archives: non-fiction

Getting it Right


Writing and ResearchWriting.  What a challenge. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, facts are part of your writing.  If your work is not accurate, someone will catch your mistake and you will hear about it!  For the nonfiction writer truth and accuracy must be adhered to.  Since readers may not be able to discern the difference, the nonfiction writer assumes this responsibility – and the accompanying accountability.

Many writers refer to and utilize historical facts, experts, interviews and research.  You must be aware of copyright issues, of individuals that claim expertise but are not experts, plagiarism, and the authenticity of memoir writing.The Everything Guide

The Everything Guide to Writing Nonfiction by Richard D. Bank covers many of these issues and can be useful not only to the non-fiction writer, but any writer needing to address these concerns.  If you do your own research then look to The Craft of Research by Wayne Booth, Gregory Colomb and Joseph Williams, or The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Research Methods by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D. (definitely written with me in mind.)

For tidbits of historical facts look into The Timetables of History – A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events by Bernard Grun and  The Reader’s Companion to American History  edited by Eric Foner & John A. Garraty.

The Timetables of HistoryThese are just a few references on my bookshelf.  Do keep in mind however, that just because information is published, even in a scholarly work – and may even be on the New York Times bestseller list, this does not mean that everything is the truth. (Or, I got it off the Internet so it must be true!) Legends can and are perpetuated and digging for the truth can reveal some very interesting and revealing reasons for misinformation in original documents and memoirs.

So, writers beware – because these days readers are very aware.

What is your biggest challenge in getting it right in your own writing?

Donna Otto

 

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Filed under memoir, methods, organizing, research, writing advise

Remembering September 11, 2001


In Panhandle Professional Writers we strive to keep our blog free of religious and political slants.  We are people of vastly varied backgrounds and represent the same diversity of viewpoints as are represented in any average American city.  But today is one of those days it can’t be avoided.  So I will keep the comments brief and relevant to writing.

When I think of this tragic day I have trouble referring to it as 911.  The meaning of what took place on this day somehow loses its importance to me.  September 11, 2001 however, is a date I hope the world remembers forever.

For me it’s like November 22, 1963 the date of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Older Americans can add to these memories dates such as December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor day, or the October, 1929 crash of Wall Street.  All these are important dates in American history.  Days we personally remember exactly where we were and what we were doing at the time.

As writers, we have an unspoken obligation to our readers.  Whether you write nonfiction or fiction; if you are writing a story taking place during that time and want to include this date as part of the back drop or in the viewpoint of your characters, or simply to write an account of that day from your own perspective, please remember this:  You can put your character’s personal slant to the subject in fiction, but the account of historical events should be accurate.

Do your research, don’t count on personal memory.  Even the best of us can confuse the details, especially when recalling an event that held such extreme emotion for all Americans.  So do the research to get the facts right.  Your words will last forever.  There are many young readers throughout the world who will not have an understanding of that day.  Their knowledge will be gleaned from what history books and even fiction set in that time period tells them.

This is how I intend to honor the memory of all who lost their lives on that day, by accurately depicting the events and giving voice to all those who lost theirs on that tragic date.

How will you, as a writer, memorialize September 11, 2001?

*Photo courtesy USAfederalholiday.com

Suzanne Bogue

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