The truth about Reality

Noosa is no place to be when it’s raining. Nor when it’s pouring, as it was last weekend while I was there to attend the inaugural Reality Bites festival of nonfiction in Pomona, about twenty minutes’ drive from Hastings Street.

The two-day event, held at the Majestic Theatre (which is usually full of the sound of silent films), featured an array of documentary film-makers, playwrights and people of the non-fiction book chatting amiably about the telling of true stories. I liked the bringing together of storytellers from a range of art forms.

An article from the local newspaper summarises the who, what, and why of the event here. Still ringing in my ears are some rather grand claims that were made as to the sort of work editors, in relationship to writers, should or can be expected to do. There were two schools of thought: one, that the author should write everything down that comes into his or her head, then hand it over to the publisher’s editor to find the story, the pacing, the beginning, middle and ending; the second, that the author shouldn’t dream of submitting such an unrevised piece of work to an editor unless the author was paying the editor out of his or her own pocket, en route to finalising a draft of sufficient quality and polish to attract an agent, and in turn a publisher.

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