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The Heart and Craft of Lifestory 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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500 Words (or More): Memoir Writing Prompt #13 on Bridging Experiences

by Promptly PortlandDecember 22, 2009
500 Words (or More): Memoir Writing Prompt #13 on Bridging Experiences

Promptly Portland gives you an opportunity to think and write about your personal bridges — life transitions where friends or your own personal values have helped you cross into new territory.

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Memoirist discovers her whispers of wisdom

by Matilda ButlerMay 18, 2009
Memoirist discovers her whispers of wisdom

Memoirist Karen Walker is interviewed by Sharon Lippincott and shares the inspiring story of her ten-year journey of writing her memoir, a process that eventually resulted in her realizing she had finally become the person she had always wanted to be.

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