Is there a problem with writing prompts? This is my issue with writing prompts: they tend to lead to isolated stories, stories that are searching for humor, searching to be shared with a group that is perhaps looking for entertainment. They are not, by and large, searching for meaning lost in the morass of your […]
There are ways to rework your stories so that you can minimize “telling” and maximize “showing.” The biggest “telling” offense is perhaps…
To write a better memoir, make use of the core memory list. The extended memory list does not make value judgments about the quality of your memories. The core memory list, however, distinguishes between two sorts of memories— the important from the unimportant.
Memoir interviewing is an integral piece of research. Although you may assume you can depend on your memory when you write your lifestories—memory isn’t always as reliable as you want it to be. Interviews with relevant family members and friends can supplement your memory and broaden the perspective of your memoir. How To Prepare For […]
Telling the Truth About your Life
In a world where we are constantly being bombarded with subtle—and not so subtle—messages about who we ought to be, it is a bold statement to take a stand for personal truth and authenticity.
The telling of your stories is a revolutionary act.—Sam Keen, Writer
One of the most transformative statements an individual can make is to tell his/her story with honesty and objectivity. At its best, this is what a memoir is—a statement that declares “this is who I am, who I think of myself as being.”
Lest you think that telling the truth is only about revealing scandals and unmasking abuses, let me assure you that it is more often about smaller issues, issues more within the realm of the everyday experience. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
One of the critical steps you can take as a writer is to find ways to share your work with others. Those others might be writers, they might be friends, or they might be family members. Don’t let your hard work sit in a drawer unread. Writing is meant to be read. We write down […]
Your memoir needs to tell the truth about life—yours—and sometimes that requires exposing yourself getting “naked.” Getting to the truth in memoir is not about being cruel but about adding meaning and depth to your life story.
When writing memoir the project typically starts with a burst of energy. “This is going to be a good piece of writing! Help to keep you writing your memoir.
Choose A Voice To Write From Choosing a voice is imperative. This may sound like a joke, but it’s not. In fact, it is a very serious question that will determine-or at least greatly influence-the tone and the theme of your narrative. “But, I’m writing my memoirs!” you might answer. Yes, of course. It’s you! […]
DL: This is a perennial favorite with the search engines. I consider it to be a foundational post whose info can guide you to success. I hope you enjoy it.
A Memory List is far superior to an outline!
For some writers, there comes a moment in writing a memoir when the audacity of the undertaking hits them. Perhaps they think doorslammers like: “This can take forever.” “Writing a memoir will never pay for itself.” “I can’t afford to do this!” They reach for certainty. And that certainly if often a reversion to essay and report writing. They want an outline to assure the task gets done right.
The following is a comment to someone who asked in the Memoir Forum if she should create an outline and how to know when the page and chapters were the right length.
1. Do not write a memoir from an outline.
I do not write from an outline. Instead I create a Memory List as outlined in Chapter 2 of Turning Memories Into Memoirs. The Memory List helps you to follow the promptings of the unconscious rather than the dictates of the conscious mind as happens with an outline. (An outline is great for an essay—”The Three Causes of the American Civil War”— but it is the death of an exploratory memoir.) So…