Month: February 2016

How’s Your Verisimilitude?

 I learned about verisimilitude during the 2-month memoir  writing course I attended last year.  What a long word, and what a big difference it makes in our writing. The scene’s message MEANS more when the reader can picture it happening. Here, memoirists use the same conjuring trick as fiction writers do – verisimilitude – the craft of making a scene feel authentic by incorporating real life detail.  This is crucial to the literary and emotional impact of your personal narrative. -Mark Matousek In an interview featured in the Paris Review, John Cheever explained: Verisimilitude is, by my lights, a technique one exploits in order to assure the reader of the truthfulness of what he’s being told. If he truly believes he is standing on a rug, you can pull it out from under him. Of course, verisimilitude is also a lie. What I’ve always wanted of verisimilitude is probability, which is very much the way I live. This table seems real, the fruit basket belonged to my grandmother, but a madwoman could come in the door …