How to choose the right story to tell? It’s a great question, and one that plagues every memoirist. But it’s the essential question, because if I could pinpoint the one common problem of all memoir writers, it would be the rush to tell us too much. So choose. How? I suggest you start here, reading this fine post by C. A. Wittman, as well as the excerpt from her new book, Synanon Kid. See how she faced the issue of choosing, what she did and how she wrote her wonderful book. [Read more…]
THE BEST WAY TO GET A BOOK DEAL is to write something spectacular, publish it in a solid publication and attract a lot of attention. No, that is not written sarcastically or flippantly. It’s just good, solid advice, as well as advice that has not been the least bit changed by even the newest of new media. It’s also advice I give you openly and freely knowing that I can back it up with some solid examples. [Read more…]
LEARNING HOW TO WRITE MEMOIR begins with knowing what to read. And specifically, this means reading really well, since reading bad memoir won’t help you a bit. But I also strongly suggest reading fiction and interviews, as well as reviews, especially good critics on television, movies and theater — you know, those people you see at the theater with the reporter’s notebook in their laps. You might wonder why I emphasize the last items – the reviews. Why? Because in any good critique of art will include a discussion of “What is this about?” that dreaded question all editors ask of their writers, all writing coaches ask of their clients, and all writing teachers ask of their students. [Read more…]
NO MORE WRITING EXERCISES. I mean it. If you are going to learn how to write memoir, you need to learn to write with intent. That’s my phrase — writing with intent — and I’m sticking to it, since I know how well it has worked for others. Ready to come along? [Read more…]
DID YOU EVER WONDER what happens before a writer sits down to actually write a book? I’d be glad to tell you. It’s simple. We plan. Much like with any of life’s big projects – college, weddings and feasts, for instance – there is a lot of prep that goes down before the major event actually unfolds. I think the idea of planning for a book is a shock to many. So let’s resolve to start the new year off shock-free, shall we? Here are my 5 simple steps to plan a book. [Read more…]
I ALWAYS THINK I’ve heard it all when it comes to writing productivity and tricking yourself, bargaining oneself, bribing oneself into it. And then I met Marita Golden, author of more than a dozen books, and I heard something entirely new: That terror could be tamed with a timer. She told be about what writing for ten minutes did for her. Okay, I said. Write it up. And she did. Let me introduce you. Marita’s newest book will be out soon, and we’ll hear from her again when its published, but right now, as spring is trying to spring and distract you in its beneficence, how about we all get a little work done?