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Pathway to memoir writing

Don’t De-value Your Characters by Using Cliches and Stereotypes

Cliches and Stereotypes

Don’t devalue your characters by using cliches and stereotypes. This will undermine the unique and personal feel of your memoir. Cliches and stereotypes place people in categories. As short-hand ways of writing and speaking, they reflect ready-made thoughts and adversely affect the ways we relate to our families and friends as unique individuals.

  • “She was a mother-hen; You know how mothers are!”
  • “My father had a heart of gold.”
  • “Those were beautiful days when we were happy.”

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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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when you don't have the photos

When You Must Have The Photos You Don’t Have/How To Journal Without The Photos, Part II

What to Do When There Are No Photos

The Memory List that you completed when you first began writing your memoir is integral to the writing process. The Memory List will suggest topics to write about, but what follows is additional tips you can use when you don’t have the photos. [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 […]

thinking about memoir writing

Thinking About Memoir Writing

Our right thinking about memoir writing projects or our right talking about them can lead to success or failure. We can be very clever about our evasive tactics and disguise them as right thinking. Here are three examples that can pass for thoughtfulness rather than evasion.

memoir or autobiographical fiction

But Is It a Memoir?

Memoir or Autobiographical Fiction?

Memoir or autobiographical fiction—what’s the difference? I have been reading a memoir that has been doing well here in Maine (it’s by an excellent Maine writer)–I can’t vouch for its reach in the rest of the country. It was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt so I can only presume it is receiving support elsewhere.

It’s an interesting book, very well-written in terms of style and organization, but my nagging doubt [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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paul

Evoking Emotions in Your Readers

You Can Evoke Emotions in Your Readers. Here’s How. Instilling your memoir with enough emotion to stir up a response from your readers is do-able. It is undeniably one of the most important results an author must set out to achieve. A memoir seeks to move a reader and without evoking emotions, a memoir cannot […]

1frustratedwriter300x300

Writer’s Block Is Often Caused by Lack of Discipline

Some people successfully use the notion of writer’s block to convince friends and family that, while they’re real writers, they just happen not to be producing–but a person can do this only for a while. Remember: you can never successfully use writer’s block to get your stories written!

point of view in a memoir

Writing About Religious Beliefs in a Memoir

Writing about religious beliefs can be a quagmire for the memoir writer. How can you write about religious beliefs without sinking your memoir? The answer that I can offer you comes down to the same old suggestion: show and don’t tell.