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text 2017-04-20 07:37
Introduction to Memoir Writing - workshop outline FREE

A dozen people turned up to my free workshop, Introduction to Writing Memoir.


I spoke for an hour - flat out. In the end there was applause and a few participants bought my books, nicely displayed on a table near the door (so they couldn't miss them).


A lot of participants who attend the Creative Writing Circles I facilitate are writing memoirs. A lot of them don't know where to begin, how to structure or write their stories. I thought a workshop that addressed these issues would at least get them started off right, saving them a lot of time and frustration revising.


They might even be grateful enough to buy a book. Some apparently were.


Here's the workshop outline I distributed to those who attended. You might find this information helpful if you're considering writing about an event in your life. If you do (and your feeling grateful) sign up for my Advance Reading Team and I'll send you a FREE E-BOOK edition of my latest novel The LOCAL RAG.


Here's the link. http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj



Introduction to Memoir Writing

Facilitator: Rod Raglin

Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Website: http://www.rodraglin.com

E-mail: rod_raglin@yahoo.com


This short program is designed to set you on the right path to writing a memoir.


What is a memoir?

A memoir is not the story of your life (autobiography) but rather a story of one of your life experiences. It has a distinct beginning and end.


How to plan your memoir

Your memoir should be structured like any good story. Before you begin writing you should decide the story's Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

Goal: What did you want?

Motivation: Why did you want it?

Conflict: What was stopping you from getting it?


Be specific about your Goal

It's best to be specific and not generalize - I wanted to be happy is a generalization. I wanted out of the marriage I was in with an alcoholic so I could be happy is specific. Rather than wanting a good job which is a generalization; write I wanted to be a neuro-surgeon.



Dig deep to discover why you wanted what you wanted. You might think you wanted to start your own business because you hoped to make a lot of money but was there more - the prestige, the power, the independence?



These are the challenges that are preventing you from attaining your goal. Here again dig deep. What was stopping you from writing that novel - the responsibility of a family, lack of time - or fear of failure?


Where to start

Start with the inciting incident. The moment you decided things were going to change, or the moment something happened that changed the status quo.

Don't start with backstory - your personal history - fill that in as the story unfolds and only what is necessary for the reader to understand your motivation. Always make it minimal and relevant to this memoir.


Story structure

The story arc - begins with the inciting incident and the tension rises as you are confronted with one obstacle (conflict) after another that you have to overcome to achieve your goal. The highest point of the story arc is the climax - the final battle that will resolve whether or not you achieve your goal.


Then denouement - wrap up loose ends and finish.


Some tips about writing

Always ask Why and How - and answer these questions honestly


Evoke emotion - how did you feel about the person, the event, the award, the death? Reading is an emotional experience and if you don't tell the reader how you felt about the events you're writing about your memoir will be uninspiring and not entertaining. Remember the paradox of writing - the more personal you write, the more universal the appeal.


Show don't tell

You want your reader to feel like they're actually experiencing the event not being told what happened. One of the best way to do this is to use lots of dialogue. Dialogue is action and action is showing not telling. It doesn't matter if you don't remember exactly what was said - this is your story.


Consider the writing technique Scene/Sequel.

Write an action scene and then a sequel reflecting on the action.


Use specifics - don't generalize



Once you've written your memoir you need to put it away until it's out of your system. You need to get perspective on it. That could take anywhere from a minimum of three months to? Then take it out and re-read and revise. You'll likely have lots of revisions.


Once you've done the re-write, you need to find as many "objective" people as possible to read, proof and comment on it. Try to find people who can be honest and do not have a conflict of interest.


Consider joining a local writing group or register on an online critique site. Then revise taking their comments and corrections into consideration.



Once you've done all the revising you can decide to self publish on Amazon - free with a 70-30% royalty split or begin the submission process to publishers.


Books that are helpful:

The Writer's Process, Getting Your Brain in Gear by Anne Janzer 

Writing MEMOIR, The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life,

by Jerry Payne


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review 2016-11-24 09:13
Book Review: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott

Warm, wonderful and witty advice on writing. There were times when the humour was too obviously contrived, but as Lamott explains, humour was her defence mechanism in childhood. On the whole a book every writer should read for its honest look at the writing profession. Even as an experienced author, the emptiness of the blank page had almost overwhelmed me - after reading Bird by Bird I'm fired up with enthusiam again.

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text 2016-11-14 01:02
Wit and sass . . .
Missing Persons: A Writer's Guide to Finding the Lost, the Abducted and the Escaped - Fay Faron

Do you like your writer's reference books to be written by someone with wit and sass? Bonus points for having Oprah's imprimatur? Then Fay Faron is your woman. 


A fun book about a subject I never knew I needed to know about. Fun BECAUSE of the writing style.



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text 2016-11-11 23:57
Why I read it . . .
Deadly Doses: A Writer's Guide to Poisons - Anne Klarner,Serita Stevens
Atonement - Ian McEwan

There's always a reason to read a book. Sometimes, it just takes a while for that reason to emerge. A friend loaned me several reference books for writers. Because they are all geared toward genre fiction, I wasn't entirely sure how useful they'd be to my knowledge bank.


But on page 65 of "Daily Doses," a book covering poisons of all sorts (no, this isn't going where you think it is), I came across an entry for Bryony, a common, climbing plant of the British Isles with poisonous roots and berries. Never heard of it before. 


But Bryony. That's a homophone for Briony, the lynchpin character in one of my favorite novels, Ian McEwan's "Atonement." Her lie poisons the family unit. And learning that her name is that of a poisonous plant, I now have another layer of subtext and meaning for this book I dearly love. So thanks, "Deadly Doses." 


(If I have one quibble with the book, though, it's that the book designer didn't do a great job. One entry runs directly into another without so much as a blank line for white space. Not especially reader-friendly, and too bad because the book is chock-full of valuable information, if this is your bag.)



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review 2016-10-25 00:20
A Lowcountry Heart
A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life - Pat Conroy
Reflections on a Writing Life  
ISBN:  9780385530866
Publisher: Doubleday
A Memoir 
Publication Date: 10/25/2016 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars
A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life, a collection of non-fiction writings by the beloved Southern author, we all loved, Pat Conroy, as well as special remembrances from his friends.

Throughout A LOWCOUNTRY HEART, the indisputable power of Conroy’s work resonates, and his influence promises to endure. A sharing of stories. A moving tribute and a cherished keepsake for Conroy fans. To one of the best-loved writers of contemporary American letters.

“A man who loved the written work beyond all measure, and who believed that each of us has at least one great story to tell.”

From Conroy’s famous “hey, out there,” his first letter ever written for his website, his hated word “blog”, his special friends, and his love of the LowCountry—Charleston. From his special journals, letters, interviews, and essays, to his oldest friend, Bernie Schein's farewell letter to the beautiful introduction and acknowledgments by his beloved wife and writer, Cassandra King Conroy. Even includes a Conversation with Pat Conroy, from Beaufort Lifestyles, Oct 2015.

A touching collection of moments and treasures from the man we all admired. From an intimate letter to his grandson about sportsmanship and basketball, Citadel, Andie MacDowell, Beaufort, his books, his writing life, teachers, Vietnam, Charlie Gibson of Good Morning America, Paris Days, A Eulogy for a Southern Gentleman, South of Broad, Penn Center, one of the first schools for freed slaves, (his final resting place-Memorial Garden), birthdays, travels, teachers, his first book, sermons and speeches, plus many more special tidbits from an extraordinary man.

Each fan will have special fond memories of different segments of the memoir. I particularly enjoyed how he metCassandra King , later in life, where they found in their fifties and sixties, a time of joy, productivity, and contentment. Their shared love of books, writing, and life. Their first meeting at a writer’s conference in Birmingham, Alabama. She fell upon his spell. Their twenty years together. People were Starstruck by him and his presence.

“Pat could make the deaf hear and the mute speak. Sweeping you up in a conversation with those intense blue eyes focused like lasers on you and you alone, he had the ability to ferret out your secret self that had been undercover for a lifetime. “

From his musings, critiques, observations, and meditations, his journals, and stories. How a hearing a good story filled him with great excitement. His love of book signings. Stories were a way Pat connected with readers.

It was amusing to read about his resisting modern technology, emails, blogs, tweets, and twitters. However, most of the works in this collection come from the "blog" he began to write when he was between books; when his health began to fail since he was limited to travel.

These were called blog posts or letters. He never learned to type. It was the way he collected the stories he would turn into the books his readers yearned for. He would take your story and make it large and glorious and unforgettable.

From his great love of books, his first, plus some of his favorite authors and friends, John Grisham, John Irving, Richard Russo, Anne Rivers Siddons, Ron Rash, Fannie Flagg, and more– books that inspired him, and his family.

Being a native Carolinian, enjoyed revisiting special places like the Highlands, NC, Charleston and Beaufort, SC, among others. Pat was a great man, a talented author, possessing a rare gift, which is missed tremendously.

A beautiful collection, a treasure, and tribute to his work and his life. His love of the South, food, friends, family, and mostly words and stories. "Our own prince of tides."
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/07/01/A-LowCountry-Heart
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