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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

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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regular writing practice

Regular Writing Practice: An Important Decision!

In this post, you will learn the many benefits of a regular writing practice.

Many people set off to write their memoirs with considerable enthusiasm. It’s a new project and it’s full of energy. This is going to be the greatest memoir the world has ever known!

How long can that last? Enthusiasm takes you only so far. Over the months and years it takes to complete a manuscript, the initial enthusiasm wanes and the memoir project that had seemed so interesting at its onset now begins to bore the writer. We begin to hear about the writer “trying to write a memoir.” Unless the writer changes attitude, the memoir will soon be abandoned.

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

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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?

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

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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 […]

compterinhand2

How to Make Writing Easier

Why is writing so hard? Why does what you want to write become so difficult the moment you sit down to write? Where are the words you need to convey the excitement or the dread or the anticipation. You are shocked to realize that what appears on the computer screen has no pizzazz! This is […]

Down to Basics: Vignettes, Scenes, and Dialogues

Down to Basics: Vignettes, Scenes, and Dialogues

Basic units of memoir writing

Vignettes, scenes, and dialogues are at the core of any memoir. Here are some ideas for writing them more quickly and elegantly.

1. Don’t worry about order.

Don’t stop to figure out how these snippets—vignettes, scenes, and dialogues— may eventually fit together into a story.

These bits and pieces will accumulate as you recall more and more and continue to write them down. Giving yourself permission to write in small, separate segments (vignettes, scenes, and dialogues, etc.) is a great way to start writing. Because there will always be your memory list of things to write about, you will never experience “writer’s block!” Fitting these pieces together to craft a polished story will come later, in the rewriting stage. Right now, it’s important to get text—any text—down on paper. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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WritingGreatMemoryListsCOVERsm

Don’t Use A Writing Prompt Unless…

A writing prompt seems like a good idea—but is it really?

You are given a writing based on a writing prompt—let’s say, “Write about something physical you were afraid of as a child?”—and you instantly start to write about the water slide at Camp Algonquin you were sent to as an eight-year old. You are not sure why you are so moved to write this story but you do not hesitate. You write about standing at the top of the slide and about Martha Cocciardi in back of you on the ladder, shouting “Get going, Patty. I want to slide, too” and, at that moment,  you realized there was nothing to be done but to throw yourself at the mercy of fate and hope you survive to enter the fourth grade. You write with some humor and emotional distance suggesting “Oh, silly me! Oh, what little problems we have as children!” [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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memoir writing program

Six Reasons to Join a Long Distance Memoir Writing Program

Six Reasons You Should Join a Memoir Writing Program

Many of the biggest challenges facing memoir writers can be alleviated by joining a memoir writing program.

Memoir writers—as all writers—work in isolation. There are many times when a memoir writer would like to have a contact with someone who could help her/him to resolve a writing issue—whether it’s  a question of grammar, style, or structure.

If you were not a plumber, would you do the plumbing to your house without first learning as much as you could about plumbing?

Of course, you would want to inform yourself.

You might peruse YouTube, buy some how-to books on plumbing, give a call to a person who is a plumber to ask your questions.

Here’s how you as a new writer can follow the same process to write your first memoir draft. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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