Archive for the Memoir Writing Category

Poetic License in Memoir

Poetic License in Memoir

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.

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Start with Engagement

Start with Engagement

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. They

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How to Safely Skip Ahead

How to Safely Skip Ahead

 A memoir student asked me recently if it was okay that she was skipping ahead in the chronology she planned for her story. She was jumping a time period of several years to write about a part that came more easily to her to write. The material she was skipping

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Imagine What You Remember

Imagine What You Remember

With memoir, or creative nonfiction, you’re required to show—to animate—relevant events in stories you create from out of experience. What can you do if you don’t remember something clearly? You’ll draw on a combination of memory and imagination.

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The Essential Arc of Your Story

The Essential Arc of Your Story

Every week I talk with people at different points on the writing journey. Some people have an idea for a book, some have finished a first draft, some have started writing and want to know the best next steps. With all the writers I work with, we start by considering

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“Why Does My Story Matter?”

"Why Does My Story Matter?"

The question can come any time of the day or night: “Does my story matter?”

It can stop you in your tracks. 

The question doesn’t usually come asking for an answer either. Why is that? Because the question is more an expression of self-doubt than a real question asking for a real answer….

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Video: Memoir & More

Video: Memoir & More

  I spoke with Mag Dimond on Facebook Live, on her show, “Writers Coming Together.” We talked about writing memoir — what’s needed in a book people will want to read — and much more. I talk about what I learned creating my book Girlhood in America, about some of

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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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