Not all of these posts were published this week, but I did find them all in the last several days. Maybe it’s because my memoir workshop from Aspen Summer Words is still occupying the bulk of my brain that I noticed these posts. Or maybe they found me. Anyway, I’m sharing them with you.
- Betsy Lerner Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself While this post isn’t necessary specific to memoir, I found it thought-provoking in regards to character development.
- Lisa Romeo Writes Author Interview Sue William Silverman on Memoir Writing This is Lisa’s interview with the author of Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir. I had to read parts of this book for a writing class; some of the exercises Sue recommends are interesting and can be helpful if you’re stuck.
- Rants & Ramblings Resources for Writing Memoir Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner shares her recommendations for books on writing memoir as well as her favorite memoirs. (p.s. She recommends reading Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black. I strongly second that. Kerman’s story itself is interesting, but it’s her humility and ability to open herself to the women around her that makes this book so compelling. And so hard to not to read in one sitting.)
- The Book Deal Ask the Editor: 6 steps to writing a memoir Editor Alan Rinzler offers excellent advice on writing. Once you read this memoir-specific post, I highly recommend you spend some time reading more of his “Ask the Editor” posts. (Thanks to one of my fellow Aspen Summer Words writers for telling me about this site.)
- The Traveling Writer Memoir tip: lose the play-by-play Alexis Grant is writing a travel memoir based on her blog and she continues to share her process as she revises her memoir with the help of her agent. This is an interesting post about working with time in memoir.
- There Are No Rules by Jane Friedman Your No. 1 Challenge If You’re Writing Memoir This post is focused on memoir openings, including those that are most overused.
Your turn. Have you read anything on memoir or writing that stood out to you this week? Please share in the comments below. Thanks!
5 thoughts on “Cognitive Connection, July 2: On Memoir”
Alexis, thank you for stopping by–and for correcting the information I had. I changed it in the blog post and will keep rooting for you!
Jennifer, thank you so much for your comment. You just crystallized much of what I took away from ASW. You seem to have good focus on writing and getting your story to the page. I think I’ve spent too much time on the “how to” and classes. Now, I am determined to get it written. Are you still workshopping your writing with anyone or a group? I do like that ongoing feedback, that opportunity to exchange work and meet deadlines, but I’m wanting to do it on a smaller, more intimate scale than a class, at least for the next several months. I’ll keep track of resources, to share and to use later, but for me, I better “damn well better.”
Thanks for the shout-out! Just FYI, I haven’t sold my book yet. Haven’t even approached publishers. It’s still in manuscript form! But can’t wait to see it on shelves 🙂
This was great. I went to the bookstore last night and thumbed through several of the memoir writing books suggested by Gardner. Many look very helpful, but I’m putting them aside until I’ve got a completed draft – otherwise I fear I’ll be frozen by “don’ts” and never get it done.
One of my favorite bits of advice – or maybe it’s just encouragement – about writing memoir came from our workshop teacher, Bill Loizeaux. It was something he said during his memoir panel with Elizabeth McCracken. “There is no substitute for the thrust that comes from you. If there is something that you have to write, then you damn well better.”
For now I want to trust that the “thrust” will express itself in a worthwhile story, which will then require dramatic revisions and references to “how to write” books before it is ready for broader circulation. What do you think?
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