Sometimes you need to have an experience in the present to collect ambient details for a scene you’re writing from the past.
Writers notice. It’s part of our creative work. We practice being aware of what’s going on around us so we can add some of that ambient detail to our writing to bring the world of the story to life.Read More
I grew up tuned in to the radio. In the late sixties my station was 93 KHJ, “Boss Radio.” I knew the words to every song. In the early seventies I was still singing along, even to songs like Don McClean’s “American Pie,” with verses that went on even whenRead More
Reflection deepens a story. Reflection personalizes. And better yet, when a story is personalized by using reflection—when you include how you were affected—a story has a better chance of drawing a reader in. With memoir you want not only to write about what has happened in your life, you alsoRead More
All the best writers do it. They develop a piece as they write subsequent drafts, improving the writing every time. Philip Roth says, “The book really comes to life in the rewriting.” Joyce Carol Oates says most of her time writing is really rewriting. John Irving says, “Maybe as muchRead More
How true is your story? Can you possibly remember everything important to include in a scene from an event that happened thirty or forty years ago? And what about emotional memory versus fact—the truths you know by experience that can’t be verified by provable facts? With memoir, truth is expected.Read More
Where do you start a story? Whether you’re writing a short memoir or a book, you need to draw a reader in right away. Here are a few ways to do it. Use An Emotional Hook Emotional hooks engage. Readers feel something, they’re curious to know what will happen. TheyRead More