I didn’t really know where to put my response to the second “How I Write” event, so I thought I’d put it here!
I went to the event thinking that I would have very little in common with anybody that wrote non-fiction, but I was pleasantly surprised. Thomas Hager was very charismatic and I really liked the adventurous aspect to his research. The personal aside where he talked about visiting a chain of islands just get a sense for a few sentences in his book really spoke volumes to his dedication and meticulous methods. That being said, I think that he questions raised (one guy in particular seemed out to “get” Hager) about how much liberty an author can take with his conversations and plot lines in a non-fictional setting were very valid. It’s tough to pick up something billed as non-fiction and realize that there could be entire conversations that were created in the spirit of the character, and to many it would leave a bad taste.
Though I liked how Hager approached this delicate subject, I still think that he could have likened his work to a movie director making a biopic such as Lincoln. I haven’t seen the film (don’t kill me), but I am sure that he director includes interactions and scenes that aren’t strictly backed by fact, and yet people don’t come out of a film like that feeling like they’ve been duped. There’s an understanding of sorts that the director did his very best to get as close to the truth as possible, and obviously included lots of facts as well, but there might be a few conversations that were not entirely historically-based.
Overall, I really liked Thomas Hager and the way he presented himself, and I really admire his research methods. I do, however, think that I will stick to reading either fiction or non-fiction, but that’s just out of personal preference. What did you guys think?