Thursday, May 15, 2008

Non-Fictional!

Someone yesterday wrote in saying that he had written a "non-fictional novel."

Normally I'm pretty laid back about the whole "fiction novel" business, but this was hilarious.

23 comments:

Don said...

Perhaps he was Truman Capote?

Heather said...

Hallo thar spam.

The whole non-fiction novel thing comes up all the time at NaNoWriMo every year. the definition of a novel is that it's fiction... but some people will argue the point anyway. Go figure.

The Rejecter said...

"Waited reply"? I don't understand.

Miumiu, this is your first and only warning. Do not post links to your blog in comments.

The Rejecter said...

Wow, that really is spam. And not even writing-related spam from some author that wants me to check out their webpage - it's some thing for handbags. Delete.

Annalee said...

Perhaps they meant based on a true story? Terribly odd.

What's your position on the term "fictional memoir," as in a novel written in the style of a memoir (I suppose you could say most first-person novels fit that bill, but I mean one that's really self-referential about being a memoir)? Would it be better to just say novel in the style of a memoir? I've got a fantasy novel in the works like that (I'm still trying to decide if the memoir aspect is cool or totally lame).

Kirk L. Shaw said...

I had a grown adult ask me what the difference between nonfiction and fiction is. I stared at him for awhile before I had the sense to respond. It felt like he had asked which planet he was living on or what the capital of the U.S. is. Surreal.

Anonymous said...

Um, narrative nonfiction?

Ulysses said...

I'll start my non-fiction novel right after I figure out who's going to write my autobiography.

Cathy in AK said...

Hmmm...I'd have thought James Frey already had representation....

Frank Santos said...

So you mean that if I sent in a query for a non-fiction historical fantasy thriller novel about a dissociative rabbi/serial killer (typed on red paper, no less), you wouldn't take it seriously?

This business sucks!

Anonymous said...

aren't memoirs fiction anymore?
I think that's what they meant to say.

Stephen Parrish said...

Don't forget: anniversary tribute to Miss Snark on Pat Wood's Blog starting May 20th.

Anonymous said...

What's all this about? Don't you people get tired of dumbasses saying illiterate things? What's that say about you? Besides that you're being boring.

I know what. Let's talk about Jill Bolte Taylor.

Got a note cc'd from her. She did a thing on TED, one of our clients saw it and said "this girl has IT" (he's a million seller).

Next thing happens, Oprah's people are looking at Jill. Okay? Ready? Read it and weep, Andrew Wheeler AND Peter Rubie:

Viking signed Jill last Thursday. They pumped out 250,000 books starting Friday. They're in the stores Monday morning. Monday night Jill's on Oprah webcast.

And TIME magazine has named her one of "The World's 100 most Influential People."

Okay, class, isn't this a lot more interesting than how dumb naturally stupid people can be? Do some homework. What happened with Jill? Do you think Viking has laid a warehouse-size turd, or what's happening here? Hmm?

I'm not saying anything else until I see some input here. Especially you, Wheeler the piddling genius.

---Darth Vader, Literary Agent

The Rejecter said...

I'm not really sure how this turned into a bunch of personal attacks on Peter Rubie or Andrew Wheeler, but I apologize. Me, I'm fair game because I'm the author of the blog and I accept that, but what the hell?

Termagant 2 said...

Maybe this Darth guy is actually the dissociative rabbi.

Issendai said...

Translation: "You're not talking about the topics I think are important, and I'm not going to comment any more until you bring your blog up to par with my standards."

OK! Bye-bye!

-----

When I worked at Waldenbooks, people used to come in and ask where the non-fiction section was. At least they had an excuse--they weren't trying to write the stuff. (Though the high school kid who came in and asked for Shakespeare's novels was probably a goner unless his English teacher had a sense of humor.) I think some people have the idea that fiction and non-fiction are genres, just like mystery and self-help are genres. You've got SF and fantasy, horror, mystery, chick lit, literature, fiction, and... a manuscript that doesn't fit into any of those categories, must be non-fiction.

leesmiley said...

I'm crushed that Darth left me out of his rant. Here I was, thinking we had made a connection during our last row . . . guess I was wrong.

Maybe I'll call Wheeler or Rubie and cry.

Anyway, in light of today's tribue for Miss Snark, I can all but hear the choice names she would have for said non-fictional novel.

Nitwits . . . gotta love'em.

jjdebenedictis said...

Viking signed Jill last Thursday. They pumped out 250,000 books starting Friday. They're in the stores Monday morning. Monday night Jill's on Oprah webcast.

Since none of this is physically possible, I'm not sure what Mr. Vader's point is.

I certainly don't believe he's an agent. My bet is he's crazy.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Libraries also confuse alot of people because Dewey Decimal has a "Literature" section....

So when my husband (reference librarian) gets a request for "nonfiction fiction" or a "nonfiction novel" what the patron usually wants is a novel that is shelved in the "Literature" section of Dewey (usually called the nonfiction collection--as opposed to the fiction upstairs...)

Think "The Metaphorphisis" or "The Brothers Karamozov"

Of course, one can't really WRITE this sort of "nonfiction novel" since "instant classics" still get shelved upstairs with the rest of the fiction--

But Dewey might be what's confusing these folks.. or not.....

As for the random ranting-- hey, at least you're popular enough that crazy people read your blog! =)

La Gringa said...

And Andrew Wheeler isn't an agent; he's a marketing director at Wiley, formerly the EIC at the Science Fiction Book Club.

Peter Rubie is my boss, and a fine fellow.

Weird people abound all over the in-tar-webs. :-)

Janet Reid said...

Jill Bolte Taylor self published a memoir called MY STROKE OF INSIGHT.

It was then sold to Viking by Ellen Stiefler at Stiefler Law Group. The deal was announced on May 7, and pub date was announced as May 12, both in 2008.

That's the only verifiable info I have about the deal.

My guess is that somewhere along the line the self pubbed version was submitted to agents, perhaps to Mr. Rubie (who heads up the agency where I work).

This is a classic example of why "not right for me" means just that. Clearly this book is publishable because it is in fact published and in stores.

Whether any particular agent makes the "right" call on taking on a project is not a decision anyone else can call "stupid" without creating doubt about their mastery of publishing industry knowledge.

Anonymous said...

In case you didn't see Jill Bolte Taylor on Oprah's TV show (May was "just" the webcast), Oprah gave her the full show and the hour with Oprah re-confirmed that Viking and Ellen Stiefler, Dr. Taylor's agent and attorney, both knew what they were talking about. No dud there - the book was 4 months on NY TImes Bestseller list.
About what you said that getting the book out so fast wasn't possible. When Oprah calls, things like that ARE possible. I heard that the speed of this whole deal - from Ms. Stiefler meeting Dr. Taylor at the TED conference to Ms. S signing Dr. T and then getting her the book deal to the book coming out was the fastest possible *ever??* The point is that Oprah sells books and Dr. Taylor's INCREDIBLE presentation at TED which we all got to see on YouTube, as did 10 million other people, sells books. That's the real deal

Anonymous said...

what an interesting dialogue. it led me to buy Dr. Taylor's book - my stroke of insight - and I loved it. At Barnes & Noble wehre I bought it they said it was on the new york times bestseller list so I guess you all who said the publisher laid a "turd" were wrong. anyway I'm still glad you pointed me to the book. I now have seen Dr. Taylors talk on the ted.com webiste and it made me lauch and cry - amazing!!!! I hoep they make a movie about her life and the stroke and then how she found nirvana and came back to life. Remember When Harry Met Sally when Meg Ryan faked her O and the lady said "I want what she's having" - that's the way I felt listining to Dr. Taylor. Take me there!!!!