Writing fiction

My family is very big on memoir writing. My grandmother wrote in Yiddish, and privately published her memoir. Aunt Flo wrote a wonderful memoir, and my father filled 18 composition books with a combination of memories and paranoid ravings. I was, for awhile, a technical writer. I learned my craft so well I became crippled. Much of what I am writing today is an attempt to erase the technical writer from my being. To further that goal I am taking a class in fiction writing. I wrote one story years ago, and I have been polishing it ever since. So I turned it in and got some very interesting feedback from the professor. The story is about two sisters who live together and, when one of them marries they all continue living together, a veritable menage a trois. The story, in its bare bones, is true. The sisters were distant relatives of mine whom I met as they were aging and dying and I was still relatively young. The story originally interested me because of the possible sleeping arrangements of the three of them. As the story and I have aged, I have become much more interested in the caregiving and responsibility aspects of the relationships. The married sister dies leaving the much older husband with the younger sister. My instructor said I have to answer the question of why the younger sister remained unmarried, and why the husband chose the older sister. The husband courted both of them and never seemed to have a preference. I had to develop a conflict. I worked on the story last night and went to bed thinking about all of the possible reasons for what happened ranging from older sister stole the husband to younger sister was a lesbian. I did not like any of it. I finally settled on a possible solution and hoped I would remember it in the morning. My conflict was with family customs and demands, notably, the older sister has to get married first. This morning I realized that in some ways this was the story of my life. I was always in conflict with my family’s demands. They say you should write what you know. This is the only thing that feels comfortable to me.

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