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Tao of memoir writing

Lists for Writers: 10 Tips for Writing Your Memoir

by Kendra Bonnett on October 8, 2010

Book Business PaperclipPost #59 – Women’s Memoirs, Book Business – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

memoir-journalBecause we have so many aspiring memoir writers as regular readers here at Women’s Memoirs, this week I decided to scour the Internet for advice on writing memoir.

Matilda and I teach classes in memoir writing, we coach writers through the process and we host critique groups. Across all these interactions with writers, we see a couple of common writing mistakes that I want to share with you.

The first is the tendency to fall into a narrative style of telling one’s story, rather than showing. The best remedy for this is to think about your own reading and how you enjoy it when the author “paints” a vivid picture of a scene or event so you can not only see it but have enough facts, detail and imagery to draw your own conclusions. Show, don’t tell the reader your story.

And second, always remember that it’s your story. Make sure the reader sees the story through your eyes. Be engaged in the narrative. Let us see you, your emotions, your connection to events. You’re not a reporter telling us what happened. You’re a participant or recipient of the story. Let your readers see your responses, reactions and repercussions.

And I want to throw in a bonus link that may help you bring your characters to life. Matilda and I firmly believe that even real people are characters…so develop them fully.

Make that two: William Zinsser’s On Writing Well is a classic for all writers. Here’s a link to NPR and an excerpt from the new 30th anniversary edition that includes a chapter for memoir writers. You can read an excerpt from “How to Write a Memoir” here. [click to continue…]

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The Tao of memoir writing: Part 6 of 6

by Matilda ButlerAugust 4, 2008
The Tao of memoir writing: Part 6 of 6

Read about our 6th Tao of Memoir Writing: The child in us runs ahead on the path with boundless energy. The seasoned scout cautiously leads the way.

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The Tao of Memoir Writing: Part 5 of 6

by Matilda ButlerJuly 28, 2008
The Tao of Memoir Writing: Part 5 of 6

Read about our 5th Tao of Memoir Writing: Too close or too far away, we cannot see clearly.

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The Tao of Memoir Writing: Part 4 of 6

by Matilda ButlerJuly 21, 2008
The Tao of Memoir Writing: Part 4 of 6

Read about our 4th Tao of Memoir Writing: Good habits are good friends; we return to them gladly every day.

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The Tao of Memoir Writing: Part 3 of 6

by Matilda ButlerJuly 19, 2008
The Tao of Memoir Writing: Part 3 of 6

Read about our 3rd Tao of Memoir Writing: The journey begins at the gate or the journey begins in the middle of the garden.

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The Tao of Memoir Writing: Part 2 of 6

by Matilda ButlerJuly 11, 2008
The Tao of Memoir Writing: Part 2 of 6

Read about our 2nd Tao of Memoir Writing: Yin beomes yang as night becomes day.

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