How does memoir coaching improve your manuscript? “What does ‘My family was poor mean,” I asked a memoir writing client in a recent coaching session. “Poor?” he asked at the other end of the phone line. “What do you mean what does poor mean? Poor means poor!” “Does poor mean you didn’t have enough to […]
Tag Archives | memoir writing tips
Liberties with facts ultimately, I believe, undermine the authority of a memoirist to present his/her life experience as a lived (vs. fictionalized) version of the mythic journey. The lived hero’s tale must figure at the center of every memoir if the story is to rise above a chronology, a dirge or an encomium.
It is important to stay in the memoir conversation. You can implicate yourself more deeply in your writing by participating inThe Memoir Network’s Write Your First Memoir Draft Tele-class.
The memoir writing process can be simple.
Note: This is the 1starticle in a series of 4 on the writing process of A Sugary Frosting published in 2016.
It’s 2016, and I am in the very last days of the memoir process and polishing A Sugary Frosting / A Memoir of a Girlhood Spent in a Parsonage, the early lifestory of my deceased spouse, Martha Blowen. It’s a time to make sure I have written what I want to write and to check grammar and spelling before it goes out to a copy editor.
I had promised Martha that I would write her stories so that our grandchildren would know something about her. In May 2015, I began gathering the stories she had written of her life. My intent was to create a booklet of these stories. But, to be honest, it has never appealed to me to write booklets. I like to write books. That’s what I do and that’s what I do well.
Perhaps you’ve been writing a memoir for your family and friends. The composition started off easily enough. You jotted a few memories and passed the stories out. People started saying you ought to write a book, but you were doubtful no one else but family and friends would be interested. For a long while you were satisfied creating your book for a small audience and then it occurred to you you that you were writing with a theme that might interest a larger audience. Perhaps, you wondered, if there was something in your lifestory that could address a larger audience of strangers. Or…
Perhaps from the get-go, you had a sense that, while this story of yours is personal, there was something in it that certainly could interest a larger audience.
While family and friends are always a worthy readership for your memoir, it is possible to reach an even larger audience.
“But, how to do that?” you ask. “What’s the magic bullet?”
Well, I don’t have a magic bullet but I do have a few suggestions to help you reach beyond a small circle. Below are four suggestions to empower your story to appeal to a broader public. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
To help you to get a fast start writing and to write your memoirs more prolifically–and even bring them to a finish in the form of a published memoir–I offer these eight suggestions. They are tried and true tips that bear repeating and repeating.
Writers sometimes struggle with how to begin a story and will not write the story until they have the beginning—the first paragraph.
This is not a good way to proceed.
The first paragraph of a memoir sets the tone.
The first paragraph creates the tone and often presents imagery that will shape the reader’s appreciation of your story—whether a vignette or a full memoir.
In a short story I wrote many years ago, I did not compose the first paragraph until I had written the whole story. Frankly, I was stumped and did not know how to begin the story, how to launch the reader.
Writers ask me what they can do the most easily to write a better memoir. While I can understand the wish to write more quickly and easily, I’m going to share with you that writing a better memoir needs to be done slowly and thoughtfully. A rushed job is probably going to be a botched […]
Note from the Editor: This first installment of Before Sending a Manuscript to an Editor series offers basic editing tips around self-editing techniques. For Part 2 Use of Time Click here. For Part 3 Time Sequencing and Flashbacks Click here
Self-Editing Techniques and Tips
I have been a memoir and fiction editor since 1990. In that time, I have worked with hundreds of manuscripts.
Some have come to me requiring only slight tweaking. The texts are nearly ready for publication. The authors have created an interesting and well-crafted piece of writing. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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 […]