Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Memoirs: Fact, Fiction or Storytelling License?

The Poynter Institute, the New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time Magazine, and the Christian Science Monitor (among many others) are all carrying stories this week, in the wake of recent disclosures that a best-selling memoir endorsed by Oprah Winfrey's book club blurs fact and fiction in the interest of good storytelling.

A slavish attention to factual detail can make a story impenetrably dense. A little hyberbole can spice up a tale, by bringing out the inherent drama. It's a fine line between sticking to the facts and weaving a coherent story that holds the reader's attention.

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