Steps for turning a journal into a memoir
I have been slowly revising my latest book My Eye Fell Into the Soup. This book is the first of a two-book set depicting the two years that Martha and I lived with her cancer illness. I have described some of the writing process elsewhere.
There was a time when writing / organizing / revising this so-personal manuscript was difficult, very difficult, but that is no longer the case. When I was first working on My Eye Fell Into the Soup, I would take it up for a few days and then put it down for weeks.
Revision is not as emotionally draining as creation
Now 8 years after Martha’s death, I am doing in-depth revision and it has proven to be very technical. The feeling part is long past. There’s something about checking the clarity of antecedents to pronouns, about making sure that characters that are so familiar to me are sufficiently explained, about going to an internet dictionary to ascertain that my word choice is indeed the best choice that takes feeling out of the process.
Turning journals into memoirs: are revisions permitted?
You might ask, “If this is a journal, how come you are revising?” A good question.
Because the original journals—both hers and mine—were written in the heat of the moment without revision, they contain spelling errors, redundancies, vagueness references, therapeutic writing that proves not very interesting, and material irrelevant for the present book.
All of these “difficulties” require editing out and in some cases editing in. The goal is to make a coherent and impactful statement that is true to the story Martha and I lived and adheres to best practices of dramatic development. I certainly don’t want the journal book to be boring.
My Eye Fell Into the Soup is a two-book sequel to A Sugary Frosting / A Girlhood Spent in a Parsonage. ASF covers Martha’s first twenty years. It is available on Amazon or on our site.
We also have a short memoir, The Nice-Nice Club Holds Its Last Meeting which is about an incident that serves as a “pre-quel” to My Eye Fell Into the Soup. Nice-Nice Club is available free on Amazon. We would love for you to go over, and after downloading your copy, post a review.
I hope to have the book ready by the middle of April. I will be looking for advanced reviewers to join our “street team” to help with the book launch. If you are interested in doing a review, drop me a note via the advanced reviewer page and I will see to it that you are added to the advanced reviewer list so as to be sure you get a complementary copy to read and review.