In the evening of August 4, 1689, the night of the Lachine massacre, a violent rainstorm hovered above the Saint Lawrence and the Island of Montréal. Lightning flashed repeatedly across the sky and deafening thunder resounded above the seventy-seven houses of the community of Lachine. As the Canadiens slept in their isolated farms, fifteen hundred […]
Tag Archives | writing memoir
Congratulations to author Dennis Blue! He has received the 2019 Christian Indie Award in the business category for Through the Eyes of a Fisherman. Dennis is truly one of those authors who is a pleasure to work with. He brought much thoughtfulness to bear on his task and we are so proud to see his efforts rewarded. His memoir writer’s experience is something I would like to share.
Talking with Dennis Blue about his writing
Denis Ledoux: Can you tell our readers what your book is about and why you were impelled to write your book? What was driving you to spend the time, energy and money to get this book out into the world?
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).
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.”
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. ]
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. ]
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.
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?
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. ]
Many writers suffer from writer’s block, yet few understand its possible causes. Memoir writing certainly has its difficulties which can cause writer’s block.