Category Archives: Writing

So you want to write a memoir? This editor has some tips

What Inspires Your Writing?

You already have a great pile of notes, notebooks full of journaling, or other writing about the period in your life you’ve chosen to write about. How do you bring it to life?

Jennifer Silva Redmond, freelance editor and writing instructor whose short-form memoir has been published nationally, says that when writing memoir, your story needs a focus.

Fiction writers often compose “elevator pitches,” or quick, 30-second summaries of their novels. Memoir should be no different, Jennifer says, because you want your story to carry a message, and creating a “pitch” helps you get that message across while developing a tightly woven narrative.

Jennifer shares a trick that has worked quite well for her short-form memoir: she simply titles her essay before writing it. By doing this, she can more easily stay on message throughout just by keeping the title in mind as she writes. In much the same…

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This Simple Trick Will Make Reaching Your Writing Goals So Much Easier

Novelty Revisions

When I was younger, I used to worry about what my writing life might look like two, five, 10 years from now.

I remember spending an entire lecture during my first semester of college writing out my entire five-year plan. I “knew” exactly by what point I was going to graduate, when I was going to publish a book, when I was finally going to “be a real writer.” A “professional.”

I remember bits and pieces of that plan. And I can almost guarantee you that not a single one of the points on that plan played out the way I thought they would.

I did not graduate in three years; it took me five.

I did not publish a book at the age of 22; I still, technically, haven’t. (Unless you count self-publishing, which I did not at the time.)

I didn’t go on to get a master’s degree…

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Summer Writing Challenge

How many of you have a story to tell? But don’t know where, or even how, to begin? Then, this challenge is for you!

About the 5-Day Memoir Challenge

Get ready. Set. Go! There is a process to writing. And this challenge is about positioning you (in 5 days) to write your memoir, so that you hit the ground running!

How is this challenge different?

What makes this challenge different is the bonus:  When you register for the challenge, you will receive an interactive notebook (eBook) to streamline your writing process, designed to give you a head start to the finish line!

What is a memoir?

Memoir is, first and foremost, a true story. Although it is autobiographical, it is not a biography or an autobiography. Memoir is about sharing a life-changing event. However, it’s more about what you experienced during your life-changing event, than it is about the actual event itself. Memoir validates our experiences and gives us a chance to share our experiences, and therefore, our life lessons.

Join Me

Join me, beginning Monday, June 25th, on Facebook LIVE, for 5 days straight! I know you’re busy. So, I promise to take no more than 20 minutes of your time (unless, of course, you want to stay longer) . I’ll explain the 2 or 3 questions for the day, and answer any questions you may have. And the best part of all, it’s FREE!

Register now!

To register for the 5-Day Memoir Challenge, see the Registration page at http://www.reflectionbooks.org.

7 common errors your PC will not catch

The Proof Angel

People say that technology is making people redundant all over the place.

Well, automated things can do a lot, but at the moment you still get howlers like these:

  • nursing the accurately ill. We meant acutely.
  • the quorum for any meeting is three, of which two should be present. I have to say, you have to be careful of your audience when you are telling that joke. Not everyone knows what quorum means. One lady told me that she knew quorum means 4, but sometimes it seems other people don’t know that.  Hmm.

Anyway, for anyone who is convinced that auto correct will pick up all your little wobbles, here are seven common errors that aren’t going to be picked up.

Visit my websites via the links at the top of this page.

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7 Stress-Free Ways to Handle Notes From Your Book Editor

Author Don Massenzio

7 Stress-Free Ways to Handle Notes From Your Book Editor

The day you’ve either longed for or dreaded has finally arrived.

You check your email and see a message from your editor with the subject: Edits Complete.

Your heart skips at least a beat as you scramble to save your edited manuscript to your computer. Then you open that just-received document, hoping to see the few things you missed so you can finally get to the next step of your publishing journey.

Except your expected quota of errors for your entire manuscript is already exceeded within the first five pages.

The longer you keep scrolling through your marked-up manuscript, the farther your jaw drops. Before even reaching the end, you close the document, slap your hand on your desk, curse your dog and swear that “this writing thing” is a frivolous waste of time.

Ten minutes later, you’re back at your desk, looking through your edits.

An optimistic thought passes…

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Serious Writers

Joseph N Olsen

Serious writers
Write
No matter what
A shopping list
Becomes an epic memoir
Of a lovers diet
A nutritious kiss
After a home cooked meal
Turns into a sonnet
Serious poets progress
No matter what
A skewed haiku
Becomes a translation
Of the moment
Nature springs forward
Echoing the word count
Of heaven’s might
Serious writers
Write

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Today’s Writing Tip

Marcha's Two-Cents Worth

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Epilogues work well to cover “the rest of the story”, i.e, that which relates to proper closure of the plot, yet occurs after the story officially ends. Similar to prologues, epilogues can involve minor characters, or in some cases, someone who wasn’t in the main story at all. For example, it could be someone discovering years later what the effects were of your character’s actions. Sometimes they can even include hints of other stories to come, as opposed to closure.

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Today’s Writing Tip

Marcha's Two-Cents Worth

laptop-3253347_1280 copy

If your story needs some background information essential to the plot, but it doesn’t involve the main character, you can introduce it by using a prologue. That way you can start Chapter 1 with your protagonist, which you should always do, because it immediately tells your reader who the story is about. Otherwise, they’re going to wonder what happened to the character they “met” first and whose story your book is really about.

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Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules of Writing

Writer's Blog

zadiesmith5 Zadie Smith (Photograph: Francesco Guidicini)

In the winter of 2010, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing published in The New York Times nearly a decade earlier, The Guardian reached out to some of today’s most celebrated authors and asked them to each offer his or her rules. My favourite is Zadie Smith’s list — an exquisite balance of the practical, the philosophical, and the poetic, and a fine addition to this ongoing omnibus of great writers’ advice on the craft.

Smith counsels:

  1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
  2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
  3. Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation.’ You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle.’ All that matters is what you leave on the…

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The Benefits of Dictation

Story Empire

Hello Story Empire readers! I’d like to fly – at least when it comes to writing – rather than plodding along. There’s one tool I now use to do just that: Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Good thing you don’t have to train this dragon to dictate well.

When it comes to writing a book, there is a faster way without a huge expense which also feels like flying. In my last post, I described how I was working to clear my own logjam with available time and one of those changes was to spend a little money to address my constricted writing time. I purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking and set out to dictate so I could produce more words per hour than typing. To dictate well, it requires training Dragon – which sounds like the title of a couple of movies.

Training a Dragon is simple, especially when compared to the movie…

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