Memoir: Plausible Detail or Lying? You Decide

There’s a fine line in memoir writing between making up facts (lying), and enhancing memoir with plausible detail. At what point does an author deliberately mislead the memoir reader? Jane Friedman offers an archived guest post by Tracy Seeley called When Is Lying in Memoir Acceptable? 3 Key Issues.

Read the story Screaming and Splashing from my book Remembering Childhood: Workbook Your Way to a Finished Memoir and decide for yourself.

Here are the Facts:

I was four years old The fire hydrant was open
My mother watched
It was a hot day in the city
I was afraid

Here are Some Plausible Details:

Exact quotes
Mom followed with bathing slippers
I grabbed Marcy’s hand
Donnie opened the hydrant

In a prior blog I said that I deliberately construct details that may actually have happened, but which I’m unable to recall with precision.

You decide. Are the plausible details acceptable in memoir? Leave a comment or contact me to share your take on this topic.

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