The Auto-Novel

Image of three book covers with graphic-novel style covers, a trilogy by Julian Grant called Hollyweird North

The auto-novel is a fictionalized autobiography. It’s a genre that’s been around awhile with novels such as:

  • Jack Kerouac’s On the Road
  • Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza
  • Charles Bukowski’s Post Office
  • Anaias Nin’s published diaries
  • William S. Burroughs’ (with Kerouac) And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

Authors mix fact and fiction into a hybridized novel with verisimilitude.

And now Julian Grant has written an auto-novel trilogy about his film producer days in Hollywood North (Canada), or “Hollyweird North.” He calls these memoirs his murder memoirs. (Not joking about the murder part!) (Or the drugs/gangs/drinking parts!)

I wouldn’t say Grant’s trilogy is horror, but it’s certainly horror-adjacent with its fast, furious, and (beeped) events. I highly recommend all three books for an eye-opening and shocking experience:

Grant’s books are available on Kindle Unlimited. The trilogy is available as a set, too.

And in other news, I’ve been working on my own writing skills. (I suppose every author strives for lifelong improvement.) I’m halfway through Several Short Sentences about Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg. What a strange but helpful book. One of the exercises: Ignore paragraphs and hit RETURN after each sentence. That way you can more easily compare your sentence structure and lengths to see if you have enough variety.

Happy Spring!

65 thoughts on “The Auto-Novel

  1. Adding it to my list! Thanks for sharing and also solving a mystery. I read an “auto-novel” that I loved but had no idea it was a “thing”. (I guess the technical term might be genre or sub-genre?) Anyway, I also think I learned about that particular book from one of your quarterly one-sentence reviews: Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar. Which was so awesome. And it gave me an idea for how to approach a novel I’ve had in the works for a loooooong time, but tweaking it to be an auto-novel may be what sees it get finished!

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    1. Until I read Grant’s trilogy, I didn’t know about the term “auto-novel” either. How interesting that you’ve thought about writing one. I bet it’d be good. Have a blessed Easter, Crystal!

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  2. An interesting genre, Priscilla. I’d never heard the term but the type of book is familiar to me. I can definitely see that an author may have interesting experiences to share, but not quite interesting enough without some embellishment. The covers are wild and not something I’d usually gravitate toward, so thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Denise. I’m still working my way through Klinkenborg’s book. It’s interesting. I don’t necessarily agree with all his advice, but I am approaching it with an open mind to learn as much as I can. I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend!

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      1. It does sound like at least to view your work from a different perspective. Thank you, I did. Hope you had a Happy Easter too. Xo

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  3. I’ve always wondered what people really mean when they say auto-novel and autofiction, so thank you for that explanation because it was much needed! I guess that Orwell’s down and out in london and paris fits into this category too.

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  4. An interesting post, Priscilla! I haven’t heard of this genre, but I heard of fiction based on facts, such as Diana’s idea. I imagine even a regular autobiography allows creative ways to present the facts.

    One person in my writing group said I should write in short sentences with less than five words. I thought it would make my writing a little choppy if the entire book consists of only short sentences. But I also learned from school that sentences should stay about 14 words. Longer than that could become run-on sentences. Some short sentences are powerful and effective. Your idea of variety is good.

    When I’m really settled down in my new house, I’ll study my books on writing. That was my first box of books unpacked. 🙂

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