1. Kizen
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    Kizen Member

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    Biography Definition - Need inputs

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kizen, Dec 8, 2010.

    I am writing a story about my own life which is a story of miracles. This story of miracles is being written from an interviewer's perspective.

    Eg: The interviewer asks questions , I answer. And that is how it goes.

    The interviewer has a character of his/her own(Which is fiction). But the story that is being told is a fact and my own bio.

    In reality: I am the only writer of the story, and I want to intertwine the interviewer in my story so that I have a medium of communication.

    Now Questions:

    Would it still be called as biography or a fiction?
    Who would be the author ? If I am the real writer
    If author is me (Kizen). Kizen is interviewing Kizen?

    Inputs would really help..

    Thanks!
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Are the miracles true or fictional? If true, it's biography (actually, an autobiography, whether you write it as one or not).

    You are the author.

    If you ask me, the interview motif seems very affected, smacking of personal aggrandizement. I would suggest that you simply write it as an autobiography. And if it's a work of fiction, then it's your choice whether to write it in the first person or third.
     
  3. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    You are the author, the interviewer is another character, you should give him another name perhaps, is he going to be the narrator?
    You could go so many ways with this, first person as the interviewer, first person as yourself, third person!
    and if it's not fictitious, it is an autobiography I think, not sure though.
     
  4. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    You are the author.

    However, if you want to use a pen name and give that pen name credit, then that would be fine too. As it would be implied to be non-fiction, if you do use a pen name to interview yourself, then I would make clear that this is what you are doing.

    You could either note it in the title or "thank you" page, &/or make VERY clear in all promotional material that it is an autobiography in the form of an interview.

    At least that's my take on it.

    -Frank
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ed has nailed it, imo... on all points...
     
  6. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    What are the nature of these miracles? We might be better able to assist if you put some flesh on the bones.

    The format you're intending to use might be impactful but may soon wear. Proceed with caution. It is used by David Foster Wallace in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and doesn't really work even in his ridiculously capable hands.
     
  7. Kizen
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    Kizen Member

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    Nature of Miracles:

    Surviving in a concrete coffin (after an earthquake) for 100+ hours without food, water, movement, light. Alone. It is a true story of my life.
     
  8. gitamo
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    gitamo Member

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    Why are you writing it in an interview format?

    What does that add to what already sound like a compelling story?

    As a reader I think an interview format sounds jarring unless its a part of the experience itself. Like that is what was going through your head while trapped -- as a way to stay calm and sane in such terrifying circumstances. Then the interviewer (an aspect of your psyche) becomes part of your story.

    If the interviewer is simply someone, a reporter for example, asking questions to get a story then I would find it a bit off putting.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Kizen
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    Kizen Member

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    I am writing from the point of view of an interviewer only because the story is becoming too much of "I did this... I did that.. I thought this.. I was thinking this.. I .. "
    Too much of me.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    That's not unusual for an autobiography. But you may also want to include some observations now, looking back on these events. The passage of time tends to add perspective.
     
  11. Sarah's Mom
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    Sarah's Mom Member

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    I agree, it's very hard to pull off. If you want to write the facts as a novel, you can set your interviewer in some situation with your main character, like on a long bus trip, or in the waiting room of a hospital and intertwine the interviewer's story with your own narrative. That is, they don't look to the reader like an interviewer.

    Having been the recipient of real miracles and knowing the response of many to their telling, I wonder what would happen if you made the interviewer a psychiatrist or therapist who hears the story over the course of sessions?

    Anyway, think how you want to arrange the dynamics of your story.
     
  12. Kizen
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    Hmm. True... I hope I dont cross the line and making the reader think that it is all about me.

    Reasons: the strength I possessed is not believable. The things I did with my mind are not easy to imagine. Basically it becomes very intense. Very.

    My thought is that it may get too heavy for the reader. The interviewer and the interviewer's questions will bring up things that I want to say. Also it changes the mood and takes the story to various directions.

    What do you think about that?
     
  13. Kizen
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    Good ideas. The one in the Bus sounds interesting. I will have to think on those lines.

    The Psychiatrist doesn't sound right since it kills the whole point. After I was taken out of the rubble I didnt need any help at all. Mentally I was so strong that people were only amazed. People who came to offer support few days later.. learned some things from me and kept me by their side so that I could support them at times. So the Psychiatrist wont work.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how can it NOT be all about you, if it only consists of an interviewer asking you questionsyou and your answers?...

    the only way i can see to avoid that is to tell/show the readers what was going on elsewhere, while you were trapped, to give them a break from all that horror you were enduring [which can definitely get too intense/uncomfortable if reading about it non-stop]... info you learned later about the effects of the quake could be interspersed with the bits about you in your 'coffin'... readers will want to know about what was going on 'out there' anyway...

    where and when did this take place?
     
  15. Sarah's Mom
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    I wonder if time distance would be useful? As in, making the main character (you) much older and removed and having a grandchild spending the day/week/summer with them? Perhaps the child is also experiencing some tough challenge during the telling of the tale. (I was thinking of you saying in another post you didn't want it to be all about you.) Also, if you tell the story to a 10-year-old, you'd be likely to self-edit the more horrifying parts. Grown-ups will fill in those blanks.

    I think playing with the idea of who your questioner will be is a wonderful exercise for you.

    GL! I'd like to read it someday.

    Oh! BTW, I believe a psychiatrist/researcher would work (not saying you should, just that you could) if they are researching response to mega-stress and you are one of those approached because you seemed to escape with no shock/PTSD when you would be expected to have some. The way heart doctors research persons who live heart-risky lifestyles and have no indications of disease or even high cholesterol.
     
  16. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    i wonder if maybe doing a, before and after the incident, comparison would work.
    e.g. Before that fateful day, I did not realize or appreciate what a fortunate fellow I was...
     
  17. Kizen
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    You have some great ideas!

    I have to really finalize one of the options and then move on.

    If I have a situation where I am talking to my grandchild. It would not be an autobiography anymore because the grandchild is a fictional character there. Isnt it?

    That is exactly what I am struggling with. EdFromNY seems to have explained it well. I will be researching further by making a few calls.

    The psychiatrist/researcher is a great thought too!
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if that's what you actually did while trapped, then it's still non-fiction... but if you're tossing in fictional stuff that never happened, then you'll end up with something that's neither one nor the other and it won't be very [if at all] marketable...

    you'd better stick to one or the other, unless you intend to pay to have it published...
     
  19. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Maia,
    You have a unique non-fiction story. I do not see the need to resort to fiction, for if you do I would think that you run the risk of losing the respect and interest of your readers. (it would put me off, for I would be left wondering what was fact and what was fiction)
    Their is nothing wrong with drawing from your experience to write a fictional story. But stick to one or the other - If you don't, like Maia's already said, your story will neither be one thing nor the other.
    In one of your post you say that you are an inexperienced writer - does your story have to be told at this time (is it topical and may lose that advantage if you do not write it now)or would it be possible to leave it on the 'back burner' until you have have gained more experience and found your own voice.

    Best of luck and tell it how it is. To quote an old adage 'the truth goes the farthest'
     

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