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Author Archive | Denis Ledoux

work with and through pain

Work With or Through Pain: Writing Painful Memories

In this video, Work With or Through Pain: Writing Through Painful Memories, I talk about writing through painful memories. Pain is often a barrier to memoir writing. Who wants to revisit difficult times? Although delving into the past is a generally pleasant experience and promotes healing and growth, it can also be painful.

theme-focused memoir

The Theme-focused Memoir

While many of the people whom I have helped to write a memoir have come ostensibly to write about their lives – to celebrate some achievement, I would say that many of these people are also writing a mission-driven memoir, a theme-focused memoir.

Behind the desire to tell about their lives, there is some intent to promote a point of view. This comes under many guises. Generally, of course, this point of view is called “theme.”

The theme-focused memoir is the most common model.

Writing a manuscript only of one’s experience—the dates, the facts, the activities—may often not enough to entice the reader—at least, it will not interest the reader who is not family and friends. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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writing precise words

Sweetheart, Are You Using Precise Words for Your Memoir?

Is writing precise words really important in a memoir?

Over the years, I have written energetically about the importance of writing precise words instead of generic ones.

I was dropping someone off at the bus station (aka the Intermodal Transportation Center) when I overheard an exchange that purported to be a dialog that convinced me once again of the necessity for precision in speech–and, by extension, in our memoir writing. It was proof that generic words really do miss the mark and lead to confusing messages.

A grandmother was seeing her daughter (I presumed from the similarity of looks) and three grandchildren off—or perhaps it was the other way. The grandmother had said goodbye to the two girls and there was a boy of about 10 whom she had not yet bid her fond farewell to. He was looking around the space, distracted by this and that and not paying much attention to what was going on.

“Sweetheart,” the grandmother said, holding her arms out to hug him. The boy continued to look around elsewhere.

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YouTubeLogo2

Giveaway with Better Memoir Writing Master Classes

At the end of this post, I will be offering a free download of The Memorable Story / Write Your First Memoir Draft Program. But first here’s something developing that’s important for me to share with you: what we are calling our Better Memoir Writing Master Classes on You Tube.

Our YouTube channel already has 30 videos waiting for you—one month’s worth of instruction and motivation. How great is that to have 30 Master Classes available for the asking!—free But, there’s more…

We are uploading another dozen or so Master Classes in the next month.

Just-in-time learning in our Better Memoir Writing Master Classes

The miscellany of videos now available on our channel—and those to come soon—are your just-in-time, go-to Master Classes for you to learn from.

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Is a coach for the memoir you are writing really useful?

Working with a coach for the memoir you are writing provides you technical, informational and emotional support. Often writers—usually first-time and (perhaps) only-time writers—struggle as they recall, explore, and write their memories. If you are considering or already busy at turning your memories into memoirs, then memoir coaching is an option that will likely help […]

memoir is long form

Memoir is Long Form Writing.

One challenge many first-time and only-time writers of memoir face is understanding that long-form and short-form writing are not the same. That is, long form is not just longer short form. Long form has its requirements.

Let me explain how memoir is long form

Many of the writers who come to me for coaching and editing are already fine writers—of short form. They can write coherent and clear sentences and their paragraphs convey meaning. There is no problem with their ability to write short form—the essay or blog post. This may lead them to overestimate their ability to produce long form.

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Become good at memoir writing

Become Good at Memoir Writing

Twice a week or so, the Memoir Writer’s Blog posts a new article. I write about a variety of topics and most of them are not in sequence with what I have written previously. My only logic is to help you become good at memoir writing —better and better with every post.

I write in the Memoir Writer’s Blog as fancy takes me. Most readers, as I am guessing, probably do not prefer to learn in a structured manner and have to wait for the next article in the sequence.  What I write today may very well be the very topic s/he needs to keep going even if the memoir writer had not known that before reading the post on The Memoir Writer’s Blog.

There is a way of sequencing the articles to some extent.

Is there a best way to read the Memoir Writer’s Blog?

Read the Memoir Writer’s Blog as a way to create a context for you to delve into your memoir on a given day—today perhaps. Any one of the many posts can serve you as an entry point into the day’s creation.

Perhaps it is early in the morning (or at least it is time for you to write so you are early in your writing period for the day). You turn your computer on, sip your coffee or tea, wonder about your day and about what you might write. You know you are going to write a portion of your memoir—or perhaps it is a memoir you are writing of one of your parents or of your spouse. Soon your RSS feed informs you there is a new post from the Memoir Writer’s Blog. You are not quite ready to start writing so you dawdle a bit and read the post. It is about technique—perhaps on beginning a section or perhaps about creating vivid character. Well, it makes sense and you decide to implement the suggestion. Or…

Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed. You have been at this writing so long! Is it really worth continuing? You begin reading today’s post. It is a piece of memoir, the piece about when my mother’s aunt left to go back to Canada and suddenly you realize how much you want to tell the story of your aunt who died when you were twelve and how you loved her and you begin to write that. It is out of sequence but you know you can connect it later to the rest of the story. Or perhaps, before you set in to write, you turn to more of the stories of my mother—and are pleased to find so many excerpts from her memoir.  You want to see how I have handled her story or perhaps simply to live for a while in another era before you begin to write about your aunt. Or…

Skill-specific posts in the categories help you become good at memoir writing

Perhaps you have been questioning whether you have enough skill in presenting action effectively and you turn to the categories of the blog and, sure enough, you find there a category labeled “action” under technique and you click on it. You discover several articles on how to create more effective action. In fact, you are reminded that action is not synonymous with “interesting” but that action like character and setting has to be better crafted. Or…

Perhaps it is not motivation or craft that is stopping you but the process itself. You have been having trouble with the pre-writing function and you check the blog categories and find several excellent articles on pre-writing and, before you do anything today, you read (or re-read) these articles on The Memoir Writer’s Blog. They ground you, and you move on to the writing you wish to accomplish today.

It is now clear to you that this blog, the Memoir Writer’s Blog, is an effective tool to learn to be a much better memoir writer. You turn to your spouse or perhaps your friend and say, “I’m getting a writing education from the Memoir Network’s blog. That’s why I turn to it whenever I commence to write.”

Then you forward a link to the Memoir Writer’s Blog to someone you know who is writing. You know the post you are alerting your friend to will have the same effect on him/her it had on you.

So that’s how I hope you read the Memoir Writer’s Blog.

What’s in the Memoir Writer’s Blog for you?

1. Regular, even daily, inspiration and motivation to write.

2. Education in both craft and process that will permit you to write the best memoir you are capable of. You can become good at memoir writing.

Become good at memoir writing.

You can, of course, read the Memoir Writer’s Blog for entertainment, as a way of making a diversion for yourself so you don’t have to do the work that is the focus of the Memoir Writer’s Blog, but I hope you won’t do this. It’s not the way to become good at memoir writing.

We usually publish two posts per week on a variety of topics in the Memoir Writer’s Blog. Keep coming and keep checking the categories and tags for topics that will help you to succeed. Subscribe via the FOLLOW at the bottom right of the page where you find this entry. When you do, you will receive a notice of every new post.

Keep writing. Let this be the year you write and publish your memoir.

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Become good at memoir writing

Learn Better Writing: how not to wander aimlessly in your memoir

DL: This is part of several posts of free products available to you to learn better writing.This is Part 1. — You know the scene. You’re in an unknown town—never been to before. You have some general directions: your location is in the north end of town: perhaps it’s on a side street; after a […]

last chapter of a memoir

How to write a last chapter of a memoir

DL: To encourage you to make this the year you finish your memoir, I thought I’d send you an article about ending a memoir. If you are at this point, why not begin to wrap your memoir up? Writing a memoir need to take forever. But, you may not be at that point of writing […]