Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Plot lines

For the longest time I have entertained the fantasy of writing a memoir, or a work of fiction with a heavy autobiographical bent. Recently I have started to ask myself what would be the hook of such a story, what would be the underlying theme, the quality that shapes and defines the narrative. And I have a hard time coming up with something remarkable, different or exciting for a reader.

Don't get me wrong, my life has been a monumental learning experience. I am proud of how I have lived it, mistakes and all. But I think that deep down it is a very ordinary life. Even the things that have shaken my core the hardest are pretty common. So many people lose a parent when they are young. So many women have had an abortion and struggle for years to come to terms with it. So many women go through the dissolution of a marriage they expected to last forever. So many single mothers have fought to keep their sanity. So many Puerto Ricans have left the island in search of a better life on the mainland, only to experience life as a dislocated self. So many Liberal Arts majors have a hard time navigating the job market. So many young writers lose the spark and spend years trying to get it back. So many mothers know their life is no longer theirs alone to do as they please.

What do I have to contribute? Is the story of my life worth telling? What can I say that hasn't already been said by someone else?


  1. Its NOT about "The Story" having to be different. It's never really about The Story.

    Its about THE WAY YOU TELL the story.

    There have been a million books written by 'dancers/strippers' but mine is different because of THE WAY I am telling the story.


    Just WRITE and you'll see. Stop over analyzing it. Run with it.

    PS: You will always be your worst critic. 99.9% of GOOD writers think everything they write is crap.

  2. Those experiences would be powerful to hear in your voice because so many people can relate to them.

  3. Meleah, MPJ:

    You are both probably right. People may like it if they can relate, and they will be able to relate if I tell the story in a compelling way. How to write it, including choosing what to tell, is the hardest part.

  4. Think about your five favorite books. Now think about their plot lines. I find that most of the stories revolve around lots of the same topics, just told with a certain slant.

  5. Yo leería encantada cualquier escrito tuyo.


  6. I agree with Meleah. It's about your unique voice. Why not give it a go? You might be surprised by the outcome.

  7. Mel & Selma are right...

    ...sometimes one's life story needs to be 'let go' by the writer, sometimes it's just too heavy to carry around anymore. And if that is the case, the audience is not an issue, if you feel you need to tell your story, than tell it.