Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-12-2014, 06:30 PM   #21
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,555
All that I can say is that I am never going to try to write a book! I thought it was funny.
__________________

__________________
Dreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-12-2014, 07:43 PM   #22
Full time employment: Posting here.
bjorn2bwild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Western US
Posts: 690
There was travel, a dog, and apparently a fair amount of embellishment in Steinbecks 'Travels With Charley'.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/04/bo...king.html?_r=0
__________________

__________________
How's it going to end..............
bjorn2bwild is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2014, 07:56 PM   #23
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,282
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
...
I've been surprised at how many people think there should be no embellishment. They were pretty threatening about it at the writing forum.
...
I'm curious about this. I would think 'embellishment' (outside of pure factual, serious documentaries and FDA drug trial reports) would be considered part of the 'art' of writing?

If I'm reading Dave Barry, I certainly expect that the story is embellished. I think you are going for that 'this really happened, but here's the funny version' style, so I'd expect embellishment for humorous effect.

But I agree, too many 'coincidences' and it all falls apart for me. But each reader's threshold is different. DW will accept 100x what I will.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2014, 08:16 PM   #24
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,465
It's not embellishment, it's artistic license, and the title clearly spells it out nicely.
__________________
MichaelB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2014, 09:11 PM   #25
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,399
To me, the example you gave would be reprehensible to do. Saying it was you when it was Lena is just false. Also, the embellishment didn't happen. So that isn't true either. Changing and adding facts that did not happen to make it a better story in what is presumably going to be classified as non-fiction is something that I would see as beyond the pale in the extreme.

Sometimes I see non-fiction books that say that certain people or situations are composites. This is usually done in books where you have issues of confidentiality (such as books written by physicians about patient encounters). I think those are acceptable because it is spelled out in the introduction and there is a legitimate reason for the use of composites. That seems to be to be entirely different from what you are proposing to do.

If you choose to go down this path - I don't think the subtitle is enough. I think you should do an introduction that clearly spells out that not everything actually happened.

(I am sorry if this sounds harsh...but you did ask).
__________________
Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2014, 09:20 PM   #26
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,375
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Yes, that's a good idea.

I've been surprised at how many people think there should be no embellishment. They were pretty threatening about it at the writing forum.

When I read one of Jame Herriot's books, I realized that every single chapter story was a little too perfect in how it happened. For example, one day his boss complained about how much surgical thread he was using, and the next day told him he was trying too hard to conserve it. Over and over again, things turned out too perfectly. That made me realize that the stories were manipulated to fit the plot. There were no lies, but there were things that were amalgams of multiple events or that were presented out of sequence.

I guess I would think about why the people in the writing forum were threatening about embellishing a nonfiction book and why you think you need the embellishment and what you want it to add for your reader. Then of course it is your book so you can do what you think works.
__________________
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2014, 09:38 PM   #27
Recycles dryer sheets
Larro Darro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Altha
Posts: 161
I would do a fictionalized account of the trip. You can make it much better than it really was, and you won't have the stigma of being untruthful. I started out trying to write non-fiction. Facts can be so restricting to the flow of a story. I soon found out it was much too hard for me. Since then I have stuck with fiction. Although I do use things that happen to people I know. And you almost always have to change it around to make it fit the plot. But it is very rarely about phone calls, since my stories are set in 1717 and 1718.
__________________
Make good money, five dollars a day.
Made anymore, I might move away.
Larro Darro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2014, 09:54 PM   #28
Full time employment: Posting here.
ShortInSeattle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Seattle
Posts: 517
I think it's important to be honest with your readers. Don't fib in a memoir. But being clear up front that they are "mostly true tales" seems to address that nicely. Those who don't like it won't pick up the book. No big deal.
__________________
ShortInSeattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2014, 03:03 AM   #29
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
It's not embellishment, it's artistic license, and the title clearly spells it out nicely.
+1 I was thinking the same thing.

From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Artistic license (also known as dramatic license, historical license, poetic license, narrative license, licentia poetica, or simply license) is a colloquial term, sometimes euphemism, used to denote the distortion of fact, alteration of the conventions of grammar or language, or rewording of pre-existing text made by an artist to improve a piece of art....

The artistic license may also refer to the ability of an artist to apply smaller distortions, such as a poet ignoring some of the minor requirements of grammar for poetic effect. For example, Mark Antony's "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears" from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar would technically require the word "and" before "countrymen", but the conjunction "and" is omitted to preserve the rhythm of iambic pentameter (the resulting conjunction is called an asyndetic tricolon). Conversely, on the next line, the end of "I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him" has an extra syllable because omitting the word "him" would make the sentence unclear, but adding a syllable at the end would not disrupt the meter. Both of these are examples of artistic license.

Another example of artistic license is the way in which stylized images of an object (for instance in a painting or an animated movie) are different from their real life counterparts, but are still intended to be interpreted by the viewer as representing the same thing. This can mean the omission of details, or the simplification of shapes and colour shades, even to the point that the image is nothing more than a pictogram. It can also mean the addition of non-existing details, or exaggeration of shapes and colours, as in fantasy art or a caricature.

Certain stylizations have become fixed conventions in art; an agreement between artist and viewer that is understood and undebated. A striking example is how in simple cartoon drawings monochromatic white parts on a dark coloured surface are immediately recognized by most viewers to represent the reflection of light on a smooth or wet surface.

In summary, artistic license is:
  • Entirely at the artist's discretion
  • Intended to be tolerated by the viewer (cf. "willing suspension of disbelief")
  • Useful for filling in gaps, whether they be factual, compositional, historical or other gaps
  • Used consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally or in tandem
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2014, 05:17 PM   #30
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
To me, the example you gave would be reprehensible to do. Saying it was you when it was Lena is just false.
Thanks, I really appreciate that opinion.

Even though I don't agree with it, an opinion like that make me feel uneasy, because I'm not a dishonest person.

But can you explain to me why you think it's bad? Is it just the concept of "thou shalt not tell a lie"? Is it a "It's just wrong, that's all." thing?

If I were to use Lena's name, she'd be embarrassed, and it would be a "look how dumb my wife is" story. My way, it's self-deprecating.

I've got another story in which I say "I came downstairs from the bedroom." even though in my childhood home, the bedrooms were downstairs. I do it because most bedrooms are upstairs, and I can avoid confusion. Is that also bad?

Please don't take it as an argument, I want to understand the thinking here.

Thanks,

Al
__________________
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2014, 05:37 PM   #31
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,035
If I enjoy a book I really do not care if the author used artistic license . I read " A million little pieces " by James Frey and enjoyed it . I thought when reading it that there was a lot of BS added but I still enjoyed the book. Turns out there was a lot of BS going on there but still a decent read .
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2014, 08:15 PM   #32
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Please don't take it as an argument, I want to understand the thinking here.
I don't take it as an argument and I appreciate you asking me. To me, there is a difference between what is in the non-fiction section and what is in the fiction section. Non-fiction to me is meant to be something that is actually true. The examples you give (that something happened to Lena and not you or the bedroom example) are, indeed, small peccadilloes. But, that isn't the point. The point is that once I know you would well be less than truthful about those things, then I would feel that you would be less than truthful about other things. In fact, you might be less than truthful about everything. So, I wouldn't believe anything else you might say. I would always wonder if you had embellished it to make a better story or to make yourself look better or for whatever other reason you might have. Once trust is gone, there isn't much else left.

(I recognize that there are some non-fiction works that have introductions which explicitly tell people that certain situations are composites. At least, in those situations, it is spelled out).
__________________
Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2014, 11:57 AM   #33
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
The point is that once I know you would well be less than truthful about those things, then I would feel that you would be less than truthful about other things. In fact, you might be less than truthful about everything. So, I wouldn't believe anything else you might say. I would always wonder if you had embellished it to make a better story or to make yourself look better or for whatever other reason you might have. Once trust is gone, there isn't much else left.
OK, that's an interesting consideration.

I am the same way in real life. Once a friend told me he nicked his thumb with a circular saw. Later, he admitted that it was actually a handsaw. From then on I always viewed things he said with suspicion.

Also, if someone asks to be paid in cash to avoid tax issues, I file that under "this person is dishonest."

In a book, it seems a little different. If this isn't a ethical thing, you could interpret what you say as "embellish, but don't get caught at it."

Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister
...tip the scale all the way over and exaggerate outrageously. Not only is it a lot funnier, but nobody will ever take you to task for it, since it's obviously put in there for the joke value.
Yes, hopefully that's what I've accomplished here:

This next shot is of a hoodoo called "Balanced Rock." The shock waves from Lena’s crunchy apple caused the hoodoo to become “unbalanced rock.”







This was terribly embarrassing, so we lowered our heads and got out of there fast.
__________________
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2014, 01:48 PM   #34
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Katsmeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,399
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
In a book, it seems a little different. If this isn't a ethical thing, you could interpret what you say as "embellish, but don't get caught at it."
Well, I don't think I'm saying that. For me, personally, I would feel uncomfortable embellishing whether I got caught at it or not.

Now - if you are writing a humor book where it is clear cut to not be literally true - like in the example with the rock, then that is something different entirely. In that situation, it is clear that this is not meant to be a literal non-fiction account (although I would probably make sure this was made clear through putting the book in the humor section, for example, and including some sort of reference in the book itself to make it clear).
__________________
Katsmeow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2014, 02:53 PM   #35
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,386
I suppose there are many reasons why people may want to read non-fiction, and not all non-fiction has the same role. Humor is considered non-fiction, though it may in fact all be fiction. If your book is not intended to be taken literally, and the average reader would know that, I see no issue. However, if it is reporting then it does bend the definition of non-fiction beyond breaking. Though it seems that this is very common, and few would ever call you out about it. It would be like calling out an aging Hollywood star for getting plastic surgery.

But many people read non-fiction to learn things that might be helpful to them. In this case, "embellishing" equates to falsifying. I refer to "non-fiction" books that are clearly not fully as things happened as not well meant. They are made and sold to make money, not to tell something from one's personal experience that is hoped to be useful to others, and to me this makes them fraudulent.

I suppose this has its place, but not on my reading list. I think by far the most egregious of this is self help and especially early retirement tomes. People are highly motivated to be delivered from pain and anguish, and many of them are buying hope. On this board, when it is pointed out that some ER book really could not be true, many people defend it on the basis of its being inspirational. People are free to choose to spend their money however they wish, but IMO there is far too much fantasy being sold already.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Embellishing Stories in my Book
Old 02-14-2014, 03:12 PM   #36
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,375
Embellishing Stories in my Book

From another viewpoint, a lot of people feel cheated when they realize, for example, that photo of the whale under the boatful of unknowing passengers (a recent forward), or that rock falling off another rock, is actually photo shopped. Some readers will feel the same about embellished stories, and will suspect all of them, and almost worse, will be taken out of your narrative as a result as they stop to think if they should believe them. I just think your true stories here (at least we assume they are true; hmmm...) like those Alan has told about his youthful escapades, are entertaining enough, and don't know why they need embellishment. But it is your book. Have at it.
__________________
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2014, 04:02 PM   #37
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
I am dealing with similar obstacles in a book I have been writing. I decided that for now I would add a thorough foreword or other disclaimer and let it fly ("the characters and events in this book may or may not..."). The book found its wings as a mostly true work of fiction. Maybe it's a mostly fictional work of truth.

Consider writing a chapter or two each way and see how it feels. My gut tells me you're inadvertently embellishing the extent of the problem .
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2014, 04:15 PM   #38
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
imoldernu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Peru
Posts: 4,616
Just finished re-reading Catcher in the Rye... Don't know about embellishment, but it was a look into Salingers soul... Truth takes many forms. It's the end result that matters.
Just my opinion...
__________________
imoldernu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2014, 04:21 PM   #39
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,386
Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Just finished re-reading Catcher in the Rye... Don't know about embellishment, but it was a look into Salingers soul... Truth takes many forms. It's the end result that matters.
Just my opinion...
Irrelevant. Catcher in the Rye is a work of fiction. Does Holden Caulfield have anything to do with JD Salinger? Almost certainly, but the character is named Holden Caulfield, not JD Salinger.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2014, 03:52 AM   #40
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,708
Al,
You let the cat out of the bag. When the book is read, many will know that every embarrassing story is about your wife!

I might be tempted to go further. For instance, each time you go into the accountant's office, the dog actually growls stock tips to you.

I think almost everyone reading your book will agree that humour has some license with the truth.
__________________

__________________
target2019 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Book report: "The Little Book of Value Investing" Nords FIRE and Money 5 01-08-2007 12:00 AM
Worst IRS stories dory36 Other topics 15 10-10-2005 07:43 PM
Attorney stories for Martha and Y'all MRGALT2U Life after FIRE 6 03-20-2005 03:41 AM
Real estate horror stories sgeeeee Life after FIRE 25 09-03-2004 04:48 AM
Jailhouse stories / Brushes with the law cute fuzzy bunny Other topics 15 03-31-2004 08:34 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:10 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.