Family myths aren’t always true. Your family myths may be stories your people choose to tell about themselves regardless of what really happened. Myths are stories we tell about how the world seems to us to be organized. Most of us are familiar with the religious myths Greeks and Romans told as they sought to […]
This weekend of September 26-28, 2014, I am reuniting with my high school classmates. We have not seen each other in 30 years—not since our 20th class reunion. Back then, we developed an intimacy and an affection for each other that someone attending a regular high school cannot have experienced with classmates they saw for […]
James Frey became a household name. His book Bright Shiny Morning, released after the scandal, was a bestseller. His lie only seemed to make him more popular. I can understand how a reader would feel betrayed.
“What can I do about writer’s block?” I am asked regularly by stumped writers. “Pretty much the same as plumber does with a plumber’s block,” I’ll respond. People twitter at this reply. Perhaps it’s because they take my response to their writer’s block question for a joke and they’re anticipating a good punch line. But, […]
Memoir writing does not have to be an intimidating task. Envisioning your autobiography as a series of stories makes the sizable task of writing the stories of a lifetime tolerable and ultimately enjoyable. Lifestories, written singly just as they are told, one by one, add up to a memoir.
What to do when you don’t feel like writing? Writing a memoir is not easy. As I have written so many times—no one has ever promised it would be. Au contraire… Memoir writing can be difficult. Among the biggest of the difficulties is discouragement. How easy is it to write when you don’t feel like […]
Every memoir, during its preparation stage, needs to have these three functions filled by an appropriate professional. No book ought to go out into the world without having these three tasks implemented. Developmental editing is somewhat different. It has to do, as the name implies, with developing a manuscript to its full potential, and a […]
The people in your story are your characters. It is your job to bring vivid literary characters to the attention of your readers. You must use descriptive writing to present believable characters. Without other people, our lives and memoirs risk becoming dull. Although ideas are pivotal for many individuals, relationships are even more commanding. We […]
Don’t devalue your characters by using cliches and stereotypes. This will undermine the unique and personal feel of your memoir. Cliches and stereotypes place people in categories. As short-hand ways of writing and speaking, they reflect ready-made thoughts and adversely affect the ways we relate to our families and friends as unique individuals.
Nothing can rightly be called a first unless there is a second. That is why first drafts are called first drafts. A writer must expect to write a second draft, and a third even. No one can sit down and churn out countless pages of prose that don’t need rewriting. Jack Kerouac claimed he did […]