If my memoirs were only a capture of the facts and events as they’ve happened, I’d be able to publish one on my books this year and likely the other one next year.
But writing memoir is not about just chronicling facts and events. Writing memoir is about recalling and interpreting facts and events into something meaningful.
Yes, the events of our lives happened. BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
“What it means” is the whole point of writing memoir. For many of us who write or read memoirs, it is what drives us to write our own and to voraciously read someone else’s. We don’t want to regurgitate the facts or read someone else’s regurgitated facts. We want to piece together the clues of our own lives and determine what it all means. We want to read someone else’s clues and see what they believe it all means compared…
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Some words have a habit of creeping into your writing, when you aren’t looking, and making it bland.
If you can prune them out, there will be an instant improvement.
Find out some of the main culprits, and what to do about them in this post.
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Struggle is universal. People love reading stories about people triumphing over obstacles, overcoming bad circumstances and abuse, and redeeming themselves. We watch them in movies and read them in books. And you don’t have to look far to find suffering and loss in the human experience. Lots of people have amazing stories, and unfortunately those stories aren’t always pleasant. If you’re writing a memoir, or thinking about it, then perhaps you’ve got some difficult stories to tell, too.
To pay or not to pay?
Have you ever paid to enter writing competitions; either for short stories, poetry or even submitting a novel? Or perhaps you’d never contemplate having to pay for competitions?
The topic of writing competitions came up at our last meeting of the local writing group and I was surprised at the varying opinions.
A couple of people seemed genuinely surprised that most competitions charged and that these were successful – I then had to admit to entering some myself with one win, a shortlist and a couple of long-list to my name.
At first I was overjoyed to have my work professionally validated and deemed worthy to be read in print and it was the confident booster I so desperately needed. The deadlines, themes etc was a great incentive to sit down and write, producing a story in a day or two – then a…
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My introduction to Janna Marlies Maron came when my essay “Something to Do with Baldness” was accepted for publication at Under the Gum Tree, a reader supported, full-size, quarterly literary arts magazine that specializes in creative nonfiction, with visual artwork and photo essays alongside feature essays and four regular department sections: Fork and Spoon, Soundtrack, 24 Frames a Second, and Stomping Ground. Janna is the editor and publisher of Under the Gum Tree, which she began five years ago with the publication of the first issue in August of 2011.
Under the Gum Tree was my first creative nonfiction print publication in the January 2014 issue, and I was ecstatic when I received my copy, which has gorgeous artwork by Jane Ryder. The magazine is printed on high quality paper with a thick card-stock cover and the pages have that slick coffee table-display feel. I couldn’t believe my…
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by Rachael Hanel
Whenever I give writing workshops or teach a writing class, I always end with “going from here.” Now that the students have learned something (hopefully!), what do they need to do to get their work published?
I say, don’t even think about publishing until you’ve done the following:
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Today at Ducktrap Writers’ Round Table we spoke about Author Sue Monk Kidd, who is featured in the book Why We Write About Ourselves, an anthology of 20 memoirists edited by Meredith Maran and published by Plume, a Penquin Random House imprint (2016).
Here are a couple of excerpts from her contribution to the book:
Oddly enough, I find that the deeper I go into myself, the more I’m freed from myself. When I write about myself, I find release and freedom in the end because I’ve managed to distill the experience into some sort of meaning that I can integrate into my life, and then move on without all the preoccupation and unconscious pull of it. It’s the unexamined experience that seems to wreak the most havoc in my day-to-day world.
Writing memoir not only has the ability to reveal me to myself, it also has the…
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