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The Personal Memoir: Keep the “Me” in your MEmoir

Editor’s Note: The Personal Memoir: Keep the “Me” in your MEmoir was originally published on Bookbaby Blog and is used with the permission of the author. This piece was originally published on this blog in 20017. Comments are still being accepted. Without the “me” in your memoir – the fragile and imperfect person who lived the […]

Memoir Writing

Whom Are You Writing For?

“Whom are you writing for?” I ask writers who come to me. They are generally at the early stages of the memoir-writing process and my goal is to save them time and energy. “I want to my children and grandchildren to know me,” they generally answer, “and I want to place my life in a […]

memoir theme

Three Ways an Inauthentic Memoir Theme Will Trip You Up

As you articulate your memoir theme, ask yourself if this memoir theme is really yours—does it reflect your present understanding of your story and of life itself? Or is it a residue of the accepted “wisdom” of someone else: a parent, another adult figure, society at large?

1) A theme that is authentically yours makes for better writing.

It comes from your center of experience. Writers who recognize, acknowledge, and explore their authentic memoir themes in their writing are more apt to present us with clear, to-the-point stories than those who repeat inherited memoir themes or who think they can ignore the issue of theme.

Early in our lives, you and I were naturally and rightfully the recipients of someone else’s—a parent’s or grandparent’s—understanding and interpretation of life. As long as these interpretations correspond to our own adult views, we can write easily within their context. What often happens, however, is that we continue to espouse a point of view inherited from another without realizing that it has ceased to correspond to our own. When challenged, we will say “Well, I guess I really don’t believe that anymore. Isn’t it something how I wrote (or said) that!”

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Difference between proofreading and editing

The Difference Between Proofreading and Editing

After having written a good portion of their memoir, writers will sometimes begin to wonder if it is time to hire a writing professional to work with them to get the manuscript ready to go out into the world. At this stage, they may ask, “What’s the difference between proofreading and editing? And, how do I know which one I need?”

What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the more technical, nutsy-boltsy end of editing. Someone who is an editor will often also undertake to proofread a manuscript. Proofreading is concerned with mechanics:  spelling, punctuation, noun/verb agreement, other grammar problems, consistency (abbreviations, digits vs. numbers that are spelled out as words, etc.), obvious breaks from styling (inconsistencies in fonts, line spacing, spacing between words, and margins), and factual errors (dates, place names, historical facts).

Obviously, proofreading requires a solid foundation in grammar, vocabulary, and general knowledge. It requires an eye for detail. Proofreaders refer often to the following in hard copy or on the internet: a dictionary, an atlas, and an encyclopedia.

What Exactly Is the Difference Between Proofreading and Editing ?

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time for writing

Your writing is your work–Make time for writing

To make time for writing, you have to be serious about the principle that your writing is your work. You must act on it and take it as seriously as your paying job. You honor your writing schedule!

You do not show up at your work when you feel like it

If you are working as a nurse or a therapist or a business office administrator or what not, you do not show up at your work when you feel like it or when you are inspired. You have certain hours whether you work full-time or part-time during which you are expected to show up at the job. The same is true of your writing. You show up for your writing schedule.

If you write when you “get to it,” when you “feel like it,” when inspiration moves you, you will likely do little writing and almost certainly not complete a book of memoirs. If you were being paid for this memoir “job,” your boss would fire you. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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memoir writer's blog archives

Benefits of Reading the Memoir Writer’s Blog Archives

Two new articles each week

What are the benefits of reading the Memoir Writer’s Blog archives? Twice a week, I post a new article on the Memoir Writer’s Blog. It then appears in the Memoir Writing Blog Archives. I write about a variety of topics, and most of them are understandably not in sequence with what I have written just days before—or even the previous week.

I write in the Memoir Writer’s Blog as the fancy takes me. Most readers want to learn in a just-in-time manner.  What I write today may very well be the very topic you need to keep going even if you had not known that before reading the post on The Memoir Writer’s Blog. That’s why you need to keep checking the memoir writer’s blog archives.

What writing topics are in the archives?

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time sequencing and flashbacks

Before Sending a Manuscript To An Editor / Part 3: Time Sequencing and Flashbacks

Note from the Editor: This third installment of Before Sending a Manuscript to an Editor series offers basic editing tips around time sequencing and flashbacks. For Part 1: Self-Editing Techniques Click here. For Part 2: Use of Time  Click here.

A writer can effect these tips to bring a manuscript to a higher level of finish before sending the piece off to a professional editor. In this section, I write about use of time: specifically, cause and effect time sequencing and flashbacks.

Cause and Effect

In the previous post on the use of time, I wrote about the cause-and-effect sequence as a sub-aspect of proper chronology.

Before I get to the cause-and-effect sequence which is an absolutely necessary styling element to understand, I need to review an essential element of memoir writing (as of fiction): the suspension of disbelief.

A writer can effect these tips to bring a manuscript to a higher level of finish before sending the piece off to a professional editor. In this section, I write about time sequencing: specifically, cause and effect sequencing and the flashback. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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redundant word usage

Redundant word usage

Redundant word usage is rampant!

As a writer, I am chagrined when words get misused and one particular miscreant is redundant word usage.

Here are examples:

1. “As I re-listened to these interviews again…”

2. “That just my personal opinion!”

3. “Repeat again…”

4. “As a child, I was raised by parents who…”

5. “a personal friend”

These are phrases and sentences that I read or heard today (in the space of one hour!) [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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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 one too many are sure they can’t handle. 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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ebooks from the memoir network

5 Reasons to Undertake Ebook Publishing

Are you making a mistake not planning to include ebook publishing in your publication schedule? People interested in independent publication ask me if they should publish their manuscript as an ebook, a hard copy book or both. The honest answer on my part is I don’t know. The decision is individual and unique to you. […]