Archive for the Memoir Writing Category

Can You Put Song Lyrics in Your Book?

Can You Put Song Lyrics in Your Book?

Music has captivated over the airwaves for almost a century, with every decade defined by its trends. Like me, you may feel that some incidents or time periods in your life have a soundtrack. Music describes a feeling and an era like little else can. (Bing Crosby is the ‘40s,

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The Power Is In the Details

The Power Is In the Details

We live in a world of specifics. Specifics define people and places. Specifics point to the moments that make up the bigger picture. They are the details that give writing a feeling of immediacy. They take your readers along with you. Well-chosen details bring the world of the story to life.

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The Virtues of Vulnerability

The Virtues of Vulnerability

When is a writer vulnerable? How about every day. In her still-popular Ted Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” a research professor who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and the best-selling author of several books on related topics, Brene Brown says that part of

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Easy Ways to Enliven Your Writing

Easy Ways to Enliven Your Writing

You’re at the movies and the lights dim. A camera pans a cityscape. This is called a long shot. There’s no action but you get a sense of a location. Next, the camera moves in, focusing on something specific, maybe a particular building in that cityscape. The camera moves in

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You’re Writing “Just for Family”?!

You're Writing "Just for Family"?!

When I started teaching memoir in 1996, twenty-two people came to my class eager to write their life stories. Some of those stories kept them awake at night, and they got up and wrote into the wee hours. A few followed my suggestion and kept a notepad by their bed

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Get Help on the Memoir Writing Journey

Get Help on the Memoir Writing Journey

To give you an idea of what I do as a memoir consultant and developmental editor, I’ll share some about the path I helped this author take to complete his memoir and have it successfully published.

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There’s a Seat for You At the Writer’s Table

There's a Seat for You At the Writer's Table

As writers, some of your best mentors are successful writers in your genre. But you have to read them! Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

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What Do You Know?

What Do You Know?

Recently, a woman I know received a surprise in the mail. A relative of nearly 90 years old had sent a photograph she’d never seen before. It was an old black and white family photo that raised more questions than gave answers — and she already had questions, plenty of

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Naming Names: Telling the Truth in Memoir

Naming Names: Telling the Truth in Memoir

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare shot Cupid’s bow many a time with the ageless romance of those lines, and he makes a good point: Whatever you may call someone, they are who they are, no matter

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Evoke the Era

Evoke the Era

Everyday pleasures. My neon green transistor radio. The stack of ’45s I played on my turntable—the Temptations, the Jackson 5. Monday nights watching Laugh-In. Bazooka Bubble Gum. Astro Pops. Fizzies. It’s a 1960s childhood. I flattened my thick wavy hair with egg shampoo and wrapped it around my head every

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