- Story Press, 1994
- Graywolf Press, 2006
- ISBN: 1555974449
- Order online
Turning Life Into Fiction
If you want to write at all, whether from real life or not, you must be willing and able to use your imagination. That means you must be willing to take risks and sometimes look the fool. You must be willing to transform experience, not simply record it. If you were a good liar, daydreamer, or troublemaker as a child, you’ll probably make a good fiction writer. Daydreams, lies, and trouble. That’s the stuff of fiction.
In Turning Life into Fiction, Robin Hemley offers a highly entertaining and in-depth manual—with writing exercises on how to convert real life into good storytelling. He covers a wide range of subjects, including how to record and generate ideas from daily life and how to write effectively using true anecdotes, real places, and real people. A self-proclaimed liar and thief, Hemley also addresses the legal and ethical concerns of "borrowing" experience from the lives of strangers and loved ones.
"Turning Life into Fiction is simply the best guide to writing fiction I have read." — Altar Magazine
"An enlightening and even inspiring guide to utilizing elements of one's own life and of one's family history as fodder for writing novels and short stories." — Booklist
"If you write fiction, listen up, look around, and take note. Why strain your brain making things up when you can transform real life into stories worth telling? Hemley recommends keeping a journal ('It's akin to an artist's sketchbook'), writing down your dreams (the unconscious is a great source of free material), and mining all those crazy stories your grandmother used to tell. Then combine bits and pieces from these sources, take one great mind leap (and many drafts) and—voila—you've got fiction." — Amazon.com