*This was part of a for-fun exercise at a writers’ retreat in the mountains of Asheville, NC. It was inspired by that one person most of us probably know, or have known at one time or another. ______ He said, “When I make love, I am making love to God.” Sylvia knew Olvin too well […]
Seven days ago, I was forced out of the Erie Canal. Now no one will talk to me. The police brought me home without cuffs, without ceremony. They walked me to the door without a blanket or a word—just watched me, wet and dripping, while I unlocked the door and went inside to Orson, who […]
Before I get to promoting the Kindle book giveaway you see to the left (happening today because the war that inspired it began on today’s date in 2003), I’d like to respond to something I read in a recent review of that book.
Writers are rightly warned about responding to reviews. Whether someone liked or disliked what they read is something we should care about, but it’s nothing we should argue with, really. Beyond reading it, the review is none of our business.
This response to a review isn’t to the review itself, but to an observation included with the review that points to a preconceived idea of a certain kind of war fiction, which I was introduced to – and that has persisted ever since – with the 2007 release of Pretty Much True… in its early form, Homefront.
That preconceived idea/opinion is this: if the novel is about war from the home front perspective and written by a woman (as Pretty Much True… is), it will, or should, probably have something to do with stoicism and picking up and carrying on and finding strength and/or faith, and so forth.
The review I’m responding to (and it wasn’t a bad one), recently posted on Amazon, concludes with this:
I know Hannah Goodman in a few different capacities: Hannah as a reader, Hannah as a truly funny person I hope will continue to contribute to Inside the Writers’ Studio episodes (catch Hannah awkwardly trying to explain her choice of reading materials in the IWS episode “Writing Advice from Real Writers“), and Hannah as an author of young adult fiction.
I recently read the first two of the three available books in her Maddie Hickman series (My Sister’s Wedding, My Summer Vacation, and Fear of Falling) and was reminded of how much I loved reading YA when I was young enough to fill in the little check boxes on the order forms the teachers would hand out in school (Apple books, anyone?). I’d missed that excitement, but reading Goodman’s stories brought it all back. Continue reading
A friend told me I was being too “journalistic” when answering interview questions about
Pretty Much True… .
“You wrote a fictional story in which the characters and actions were different but the feelings and the fear were the same. Get PERSONAL.”
I never wanted to do that before, because I wanted to emphasize that the overall feeling of the experience, not my experience but the experience, was what was important. But she made me see that one experience, the story, wouldn’t exist without the other, the reality. Continue reading
I just found this in a file while doing a search for something somewhat related. After spending so much time with Pretty Much True…, there are actually times, now, I can’t remember whether something in the book happened only in the book, or whether it’s a real memory.
A lot of Pretty Much True… rings true because I used my experience to guide the fiction, but now and then I’ll be reminded of just how many little pieces of reality also became Mia’s reality. The following true (real true, not pretty much true) account was saved as a file called “guest post,” but I don’t remember who it was for or whether it was ever sent: Continue reading