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Archive | Memoir Writer’s Blog

The Memoir Writer’s Blog is a collection of stories, articles about writing, guest blog posts and more.

Use this instead of a writing prompt…

As readers of the blog know, I’m not a great fan of writing prompts. Sure, they get you to writing something and many will insist, “Writing something is better than writing nothing…”

Well I’m not so sure of that. Writing should matter. It’s hard work, and life is short. What’s better than nothing about writing some text on “the most fun things I did this summer?” as we sometimes had to in school. (No wonder we did not learn to write while in that context!)

Writing from insipid prompts is not much better than writing nothing—not if you are someone who is interested in writing “from the inside out” as I hope all readers of this newsletter are.

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How Memoir Editing Works

When I begin memoir editing with clients, I tell them that a proper editing requires three “read-throughs.” It is impossible to give a manuscript all the attention it deserves in one reading. Reading a manuscript without doing any specific editing and forming only a general impression has always seemed a good idea in theory, but I have not found a way to do so that is economical. I have therefore evolved this concept of read-throughs as a memoir editing technique.

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5 Memory Recall Tips

Recalling the details of our life stories can be a challenge. Devising a Memory List is the first best thing you can do, but if you want additional ideas, here are five memory recall tips for remembering more than you might have thought possible.

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Vignettes, scenes, and dialogues

Vignettes, scenes, and dialogues are at the core of any memoir—your memoir. Here are some ideas for writing them more quickly and elegantly. 1. Don’t stop to figure out how these snippets may eventually fit together into a story. These bits and pieces will accumulate as you recall more and more and continue to write […]

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Teaching a memoir workshop leader

Teaching a Memoir Workshop – Tackle the Hard Parts and Win Accolades

When you are teaching a memoir workshop, easy is not always best. The teacher’s task is to help individuals to go through and beyond two kinds of barriers to their writing: the technical and the psychological blocks that keep them from success. Our job is to facilitate our participants’ arrival at a point where they are able to “own” their stories, to acknowledge their lifestories as they are and to accept themselves as they are.

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Word Lightning: the Right Word Will Dazzle Your Memoir’s Reader

Is choosing the right word really important in writing a memoir?

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” —Mark Twain

Lightning dazzles the eye. The sky is split open. Sometimes it makes our hair stand on end. A lightning bug, on the other hand, is a small, friendly flicker in our back yards, not enough light to illuminate even the smallest corner.

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4 Tips For Easier, Quicker Writing

You can benefit from easier and quicker writing by adapting appropriate habits of composition. Here are four habits for quicker writing of your first draft that you would do well to learn. They are easy to implement and the rewards are significant.

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(More) Better than Prompts: Five Tips to Help You “Jog Your Memory”

When starting on a memoir, it can be difficult to remember all the stories and memories you would like to include. You naturally want to jog your memory.

When you are intent on writing “from the inside out” as we at The Memoir Network hope you will, there are some useful techniques you can use—to add to compiling your Memory List and perhaps even to stimulate it.

Below are a few “memory jogs” to get you thinking and especially feeling about the people and places of your past.

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write more efficiently

How to Get the Most Out of Sharing Your Memoir In-Progress

A critical step for a brand-new writer is sharing your memoir in progress with others. There is nothing like a reader to help you develop a healthy critical sense of your work. This article is especially for the writer who cringes at the thought of sharing his/her writing.

Those others you will share with might be writers, they might be friends, or they might be family members. Many readers of this blog are first-time writers.

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