Writing Lessons: Writing Your Truth

STEVE WHITACRE book coverWRITING YOUR TRUTH is one of those phrases that makes for good conversation, a fine search term on Google, and a much-overused topic for workshops. And that’s about where the fun begins and ends since actually writing your truth is as hard as writing gets. Here to take on that gnarly topic is Steven Whitacre, author of the beautifully-written — and remarkably-titled — memoir, My Father’s Prostitute: Story of a Stolen Childhood. Let’s see what he has to say.



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Writing From the Heart

WRITING FROM THE HEART is one of those phrases that people use and use again and, it seems to me, rarely stop to think about. It’s what I call a shingle phrase. You know, as in a roof shingle? It patches and connects, but merely blocks the light. What does writing from the heart really look like? To me, it looks like the work of Monica Wesolowska, the author of Holding Silvan. [Read more...]

Writing Lessons: Why Write An Introduction?

The In-Between_KDIT’S POSSIBLE THAT the single most popular questions I get in my manuscript services practice are why and when to write an introduction. People frequently send me their intros again and again as they edit them, and at some point I stop them and tell them to keep what they have and wait to write more until they’ve written the book. Writing your introduction before that is like buying the shoes you’ll wear on the Today show before you’ve done the work on your book. Fun, absolutely, but somewhat premature, though having done it you can check it off your to-do list, yes? And if having those shoes in your closet kicks you back to work each day, where’s the harm? But you don’t know who you’ll be when you finish. And you certainly don’t know what book you are introducing until you finish it. So why write an introduction? Writer and Jeff Goins knows why. Poised to soon publish his third book, he was kind enough to tackle this topic for us here. See what you think. [Read more...]

Writing Lessons: Some Tips on Writing Good Transitions

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00025]WHEN AMY DAWS wrote to me about her recently published memoir, I asked her about her writing challenges in the project, which led us to a discussion about writing good transitions. Ah, transitions. More tears are shed over these, perhaps, than most writing topics. But in Amy’s case, this was particularly trying since she was using a timeline of a pregnancy interspersed with flashbacks. Not an easy thing to do, but necessary in a book that tackles the hope she had for a successful pregnancy after suffering multiple miscarriages. So I invited her to take on the transition. See what you think. Write a comment and ask Amy about writing her new book, Chasing Hope, and enter to win a copy of the book. [Read more...]

Twenty Top Tips For Writing Memoir

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540

IT’S THE BIRTHDAY of the Writing Lessons column. It’s been a year, and in that time some of the greatest current memoir writers have taken their time to teach you how to write memoir. To celebrate the anniversary I thought I’d give you a little gift in the form of a new website page. [Read more...]