Thursday, September 24, 2009

Response 5: Mutt on the Loose: The Life and Times of Katie Brownlie

In accordance to the question, I think the situation with biographies goes both ways. An interesting biography can be from someone important or someone who had some dramatic happenings. People will read a biography on Bill Clinton as others may read one on the Octo-mom. Important people will gain readers because they are well known, and will use this opportunity to teach their readers lessons based on their lives or show them what they’re really like. The dramatic subjects will get readers through shock value and keep them with the thrilling tale of their life, like the countless tales of Holocaust survivors.

So the lives of everyday people are not worth knowing, right? WRONG. Haven’t you ever picked up a book about a desperate teen trying to woo their dream date, or a newlywed who can’t deal with her mother-in-law? Sure, these aren’t biographies, but authors often write fiction by pulling from their own life experiences. The story of the everyday person can be interesting, if one can write it well enough. Or even act it well enough. Some of the most successful television shows have followed the lives of everyday people, like Friends. There was no real Rachel or Chandler, but the experiences they had were realistic or not so far-fetched. The writers for the hit comedy show Everybody Loves Raymond say they wrote their own stories of married life into the scripts. Someone who’s entire life is not characterized by drama probably shouldn’t write an autobiography. But if you’ve got some tales from your childhood that you could turn into a “based on a true” story, then why not publish it? There are millions out there already in one form or another. Just don’t hope to outsell the new book about Ted Kennedy.

And do I want to the kind of life that might merit an autobiography? Well, I already do. ;)

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