Memoir writing may seem easy because you know the content: your life. Not so fast. Writing a memoir that others love to read requires your full writerly attention. Answer the questions: What do you want a reader to learn? Why would anyone read this memoir? What is the story arc?
I enjoy helping writers put their life stories/memoirs together for their families. This audience already knows something about the writer and has often asked specific questions of the writer, hoping for answers. Memoirists looking at larger audiences must look at their story as a novel, just not fiction. Readers love a good tale, especially if they are treated to good writing, careful development, and terrific characters. If they are new writers, then they may need some support.
As a reader for a book award, I read a memoir about a … Read More »
Did you think that writers hide away in garrets with keyboards, ashtrays, and emptied bottles? That was the image I had when I learned about the lives of writers like Hemingway and Flaubert. I liked the romance of La Boheme and the life of the artist. It didn’t take me long to learn that the starving artist act wasn’t going to get me published, and it wasn’t going to produce much usable work, either. There isn’t much romance to the writer’s life on a day to day basis. There is magic on good days, but mostly writing requires diligence, not dalliance.
November is National Novel Writing Month. Devoting a whole month to writing every day isn’t just sticking your toe in the writing game — it represents at least a whole foot. At the website for the project … Read More »
Finding time, making time, so much to do, how to do life and write, too? These are the questions you ask yourself when you aren’t up to your neck with a project. These are the questions you ask when you think you know what it looks like when real writers write, and you aren’t doing it. But you are a real writer. Please gently pinch your right foreman with your left hand. Feel that? You are real (my apologies to all the philosophers I’ve known and read, but I am on my way to a point, here). Now look at the collection of documents in any of your computer folders. Writing, right? You wrote all that. You see where this is going…. you are a real writer. You have proof.
So now that you are … Read More »
One of the things I do is read and respond to first drafts of books, non-fiction or fiction. They are rough and raw with the intensity of the writers who are wrestling ideas down to the page. I have such admiration for anyone who is willing to just sit down and bang out a draft. It is so much!
I get to make suggestions and give direction about how to move the draft toward being more readable and beautiful. Often the writer has hurried through some really fabulous scene, and I feel like I just had a drive-by kiss and I want MORE! Sometimes I get confused about where we are and who is who, so I need the writer to explain things better. Other times I just need more information to be convinced of an argument or a … Read More »