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Author Archive | Denis Ledoux

sad mature businessman thinking about problems in living room

Writing Negative Experiences into a Memoir

Of course, your memoir will have a lot to say about your family, your relatives and your community. How do you write about them when your feelings are not necessarily positive? Do you omit any mention and “make nice?” How do you avoid being mired in the quicksand of destructive emotions as you are writing negative experiences into a memoir?

When writing my childhood memoir, French Boy, I had some sorrow surrounding my father and some simply critical feelings about my mother. In short, I was writing negative emotions into a memoir—mine.

Getting some insight on my memoir characters

Now, don’t get me wrong: both of them were loving, caring people. I’m not writing here about abusive people. No I’m writing about human beings just like we all are, human beings who had some failings and moments when they were not their best. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Denis-family-1

Writing more Deeply: The pain in telling the truth

My new memoir, French Boy (due out in late 2022), is about my childhood. Much about this time in my life has a context that is unique and consequently different from that of my contemporaries. This memoir has a place in the world of memoirs, and I want it to find that place, but writing it has also brought up some pain which I did not want. Once again, I found out that there is pain in telling the truth.

My parents were thoughtful and loving people so their behavior towards me is not an issue. I am not writing about a reprehensible or shameful experience. I am dealing with a more average pain that is both little for the world and big for me.

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telling the truth

Solving Problems of Telling the Truth in Your Memoir

When telling the truth, how much of what happened do you have to tell? At what point does withholding the truth become a lie? For instance, in all her famous diaries, as Anais Nin celebrated the freedoms of her life as an artist, she never once mentioned that she was bankrolled by a husband. True, she could not mention his name or details of his life because he had refused her legal permission to do so in print. But wouldn’t the truth have been better served if she had mentioned the working husband who paid her bills and made her artistic life free of financial constraints possible?

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writing your first draft

5 Better Ways to Describe The People in Your Memoir 

Without other people, our lives and our memoirs risk becoming dull. Although ideas are pivotal for many individuals, relationships are even more commanding. We are intrigued with who other people are and how they function. “Who’s that? What are they doing? Where did they come from?” These are question we want answered. To write a strong story, capitalize on this interest. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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fast start writing

9 Tips for a Fast Start Writing Your Memoir  

Ever wish you had the secret of generating a fast way to fast start writing your memoir—or most any other book?

A proven way to start writing is to follow a set of steps that will help you get into the writing habit. When I wrote and published A Sugary Frosting / A Memoir Of A Girlhood Spent in a Parsonage, I appreciated the efficiency and effectiveness of my writing process all the more. A Sugary Frosting is the story of the first 20 years of my deceased wife’s life. She had written a number of her stories but died before completing a memoir. When I took up the task, I followed what I consider to be “best practices” of memoir writing.

Below I offer them to you to help you get a fast start and to write more prolifically—and even bring it to a finish in the form of a published memoir.

Here are my nine “best practices” for memoir writing. They are tried and true and bear implementing today.

1. Set up a regular writing time. This will get you a fast start writing your memoir.

How long you write is perhaps not as important as how frequently you do so. Once you have set up a writing time, honor it as you would a medical appointment. Don’t allow others to usurp your time!

A schedule may be the tool you need to make a success of your writing. Don’t become another person who tried to write, who is thinking of writing.

What you need to write a memoir successfully is discipline not motivation. Motivation will likely get you only so far while discipline will see you to a completed memoir. A schedule flows naturally as a part of discipline.

2. Give yourself permission to write a rough first draft.

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similes and metaphors

Similes and Metaphors: Don’t Let Them Scare You!

“I don’t quite know how to describe what I’m feeling,” you might say during your writing as you grope for a way to describe in words this emotion that is beyond words. There is a solution to this dilemma that writers often resort to—but too many writers are sure they can’t handle it. The solution? It is the use of images, specifically similes and metaphors. These will bring your text to a level beyond words.

Not sure how to handle these literary techniques? Not to worry. The following article explains much. You will read examples of similes and metaphors and learn the difference between similes and metaphors.

1. A simile is a comparison that uses like or as.

When you say, “Life is like a merry-go-round”, you are making an image we call a simile—even if it’s not a terribly original one. It’s a simile, too, if you write, “I’m busy as a bee.” In a simile, because of the use of like and as, it is clear that the writer is making a comparison. Here is an example of a simile:

My love is like the red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in June, /My love is like the melody/That’s sweetly played in tune.   —Robert Burns

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Showing up for my memoir

Showing up for my memoir– again!

Last week, it occurred to me that I was putting off – does that really sound better than “procrastinating”?—doing the final edit of my memoir, French Boy.

I had already gone through it rather extensively for the umpteenth time and had made changes in Microsoft Track Changes.

Now my task was to go through all of the changes both make sure that I wanted those changes and make sure also that I had not introduced new mistakes.

Showing up for my memoir

I had done precious little in the last couple of weeks to bring my manuscript to a conclusive end to this editing. It was only when I looked at my September schedule that I realized I had set several deadlines that I had to meet—wanted to meet—and was way off meeting them.

In short, I realized that I had put off showing up for my memoir for negotiating some of the last stages of writing a memoir.

A memoir does not get out in the world with a hope and a prayer. It requires attention—focused attention.

The next task

What I needed to prepare for was to send the book manuscript out to those people who had agreed to write blurbs or who had agreed to serve as beta readers. (The book had already been read by my siblings and I had gratefully inserted their suggestions both to add and to delete.)

In guise of an emergency measure, I decided last Thursday that I would show up for my memoir by having this final check finished by the end of the day on Labor Day. This involved somewhat of a marathon session on Saturday, but it was quite satisfying to realize that I was showing up successfully and that the manuscript would be ready soon for its next stage.

In conclusion

As you read this, a number of copies have already gone out to blurbers and beta readers and the remainder will be finished by tomorrow.

This feels good. I have a sense that I’m now back on track. I have enjoyed writing this book – the experience of being immersed in another time of my life – but I feel that it is time for it to come to an end and for me to move on to other interesting projects.

Here is what I hope are takeaways for you:

  • A deadline (however arbitrary) can keep your nose to the grindstone.
  • When you get off your deadline, reevaluate whether getting back on it is what you really want.
  • If you need to show up, then, show up!

Good luck with your memoir and remember to work on it a bit every day [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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dramatic story

Dramatic story development, rather than dramatic events, adds up to an interesting memoir

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People will sometimes suppose that only big drama can make an interesting memoir. Of course, there are many readers who require constant titillation if they are to remain reading. Perhaps they are not the readers you should be seeking for your memoir. Nonetheless, nearly all readers require some attention to “interesting.”  

No, I do not believe that it is the scope of the drama of your memoir that is the crucial element to creating interest. Some would-be memoir-writers get discouraged by the ordinariness of their lives. Yet, I have found that almost everyone I have had a serious conversation with about memoir writing had enough happen in their lives to fashion an interesting memoir.  

An interesting memoir: drama vs. dramatic story development?

Much more important than the inherent drama of an action is the dramatic development of your story.

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Self-publishing Means extroversion

Self-Publishing Means Extroversion!

I am committed to independent publishing—even if self-publishing means extroversion . Ever since I realized two things, this has been my mode of publication.

This is what I understood many years ago [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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