I've written many times about the benefits of being in a writer's critique group, whether it's online or a face to face type. I was reminded the last couple days about another positive in being in a group of this kind.
I had submitted a memoir piece, which several people critiqued for me. One of them said she would like to see more of a scene where I was a child alone on a train which introduces the story. I wrote back that I really didn't remember any more of being on the train and I didn't want to make up something that was in a nonfiction piece.
Someone else chimed in and gave her opinion about the 'truth' issue in memoir writing. We all know about writers who made up so much of the memoir that they got found out and chastised greatly. But Harriet made a good argument for being able to enlarge on certain areas from the memory of what the person was like or the time, setting etc. As long as you don't make up people, events and outcomes, it's OK to embellish a little.
Soon, others in the group were sending e-mail messages giving their opinions on the topic, citing examples to back up what they'd said. A full force discussion was underway. It was as good as listening to a speaker at a writer's conference. It was as beneficial as reading a book on the craft of writing memoirs.
Once again, I would urge all writers to consider joining a critique group to partake of the many benefits it offers.