Friday, February 06, 2009

A Writer's True Confessions

I have a writer friend who writes for Truest Confessions. At first I was shocked - aren't those confessions supposed to be true? I imagined the thousands of people who bought the magazine and read about 'The Baby I hid from my Husband for Fifteen Years', Or, 'I was Seduced by my Best Friend's Great-Grandfather - and Now We're Married' and believe they were true. My friend says she dreams up about ten scenarios a month and sends them in. The magazine knows they're not true - but I suppose, if I buy the magazine and read the fine print, it will say something about most stories being 'fictionalized' accounts.
Just for fun, I tried to write some.
I tried to write a first person POV account of a girl who married a man who claimed he was rich, and found out she'd married a homeless, jobless, pathological liar. I couldn't.
I can write fiction all day long, but as soon as I tried to write something that was supposed to be true, my creativity dried up.
I tried again. I started with a woman who's husband turns out to be a woman. I got stuck. I couldn't write a word. It was awful. But when the husband turned into an alien, I was off and running. Extra appendages, different planet, silver spaceship - no problem.
I tried again!
This time I was a girl sold into slavery by her deliquent aunt to pay her gambling debts. I got to the part where I was slaving away in the basement washing the laundry for the sleazy hotel when I got stuck again, and it was not until my mother's ghost came and talked to me was I able to get the story going again - of course, Truest Confessions told me they didn't accept 'paranormal' stories. (Unless they were true - or confessions, I suppose.)

So here I am - a fiction writer incapable of making up true confessions. It's aggravating.I will have to stick to things I know - like making up stories...period!


Charles Gramlich said...

What is the title of Lawrence Block's book: "Telling Lies for Fun and Profit." Nothing about truth in there.

I've never tried to write one of these although I've thought about it. Hum, I wonder if I could.

Wynn Bexton said...

That brought to mind a story about how, when I was newly married, my girlfriend and I decided we would write for True Confessions. We had great fun concocting the plots and I wrote the stories and sent them to the magazine. None got accepted, but for that brief period of my writer's life, it was really a lot of fun.

Later on, sadly enough, I probably could have written about my own marriage (true!) and they might have printed it!

Lyn Cash said...

I got my *start* writing for the TRUES - lol. Once you sell a couple of stories, you'll find yourself eavesdropping on the grocer, exacting revenge on a bitchy neighbor, making stuff up if you don't know the real story. It's actually quite fun and pays pretty well.


John Nez said...

I suppose the secret must be to just develop that 'gab-a-bility'. Whether it's eavesdropping on the neighbors or making it up from dreams.

Now me, I can't even figure out how to talk on the phone. I get jealous when I hear people just yakkity yakking away like crazy on the phone. I can't understand HOW they do that. They have the right 'voice' or something ... they feel so comforable in a way I never could.

Probably that explains why I only get about 3 phone calls a month.