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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. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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writing prompts

Better Than Writing Prompts – Five Tips for Creating a Memory List

People who are writing a memoir will sometimes say, “I want to write my stories but I have forgotten so many details. Is there any way I can get them back? Should I use writing prompts?”

There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of life writing successful. That tool is not a writing prompt: it is the Memory List. No other exercise opens up the process of life writing as quickly and as surely as the thoughtful and thorough compilation of such a list. It’s simple, and as a first step, it’s crucial.

Let me tell you about the Memory List (a general term for your list of memories).

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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How long should it take to write a memoir?

How Long Should It Take to Write a Memoir? Set a Deadline!

How Useful Is A Memoir Timeline?

Have you ever wondered, “How long should it take to write a memoir?”

One answer, of course, is that it takes as long as it takes. While so true, this answer is not useful to those writers who are trying to get their duckies in line—looking at where the time is in their schedules to write, knowing what support to ask from their life partners, etc. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Continue to write your memoir

Don’t Wait: Continue to Write Your Memoir Today

Why not continue to write your memoir today?

—Phil Cousineau in Stoking the Creative Fires

The Phil Cousineau quote above ought to be for all of us a stirring call to continue—or to begin if that is where we are at—the writing we may have procrastinated about for so long. We fill our days with lesser tasks when we know that what we ought to be doing is writing a memoir.

It is later than you think. In the twenty-five plus years I have been doing this work, I have seen people die without writing their memoir and I have seen people grow old and lose the energy to write their memoir.

In both cases, a lifestory has been lost.
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writing a first draft

Writing a First Draft: Why They’re Called “First”

When you are writing a first draft: nothing can rightly be called a first unless there is a second. First grade implies second grade; first class implies second class; first book implies (we hope) second book, a first draft implies a second draft.

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 it with On the Road, but we know now that he was stretching the truth. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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sensory details

Why Sensory Details Bring A Memoir To Life

Should you emphasize sensory details in your memoir?

Successful stories are full of sensory details (colors, shapes, textures, smells, sounds, flavors. When your stories portray a vivid world (“three sweet-scented roses”) rather than a vague one (“some nice flowers”), you make it easier for readers to take the leap of faith into the world of your writing.

Abstraction kills a story

If your story has abstract and vague wording like “After a while, absence from home made fidelity difficult for him and he committed adultery…,” your readers will be less interested in (and less swayed by) what you have to say than if your narration is filled with concrete details. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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quicker writing

4 Tips For Easier, Quicker Writing

You can benefit from easier and quicker writing by adapting appropriate habits of composition. Here are four habits for writing your first draft quickly. You would do well to put them into practice. They are easy to implement and the rewards are significant. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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BeginAMemoir

The Importance of a Regular Writing Practice

Many people set off to write their memoirs with considerable enthusiasm. Frequently however over the months and years it takes to complete the manuscript, their enthusiasm wanes and the memoir project that had seemed so interesting now begins to bore the writer is soon abandoned. I don’t think there was ever a writer whose interest […]

finish your memoir

How to Finish Your Memoir

Do you wonder how to finish your memoir?

I’ve noticed that many people who come to The Memoir Network have already been writing a while. They are not people who are  just starting out on the memoir journey. Many have already written 5, 10, 15 or more stories or vignettes. They have been writing for a number of months—sometimes even years—and are concluding that they are spinning their wheels, that they are not producing a book as they so want to do. They realize they are not on the path to bringing their memoirs to a finish. What they are doing is writing stand-along piece after stand-alone piece. Well, a stand-alone piece is not a bad goal really—wouldn’t you love to have stand-alone stories from your grandparents? It’s just that stand-alones are really just not what they want to leave as a legacy. So, how do you finish your memoir?

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A Consumer's Guide to Ghostwriting Services

Five Questions to Check a Memoir Ghostwriter’s References

Hiring a memoir ghostwriter will lead to a long-term relationship. This relationship will cost you money. It will also cost you time and energy. It is reasonable that you want it to function smoothly and well. Of course, you ask the writer for references, but are they reliable? Here are five areas of questions you […]