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12 Guilty Pleasures for Memoirists

12 Guilty Pleasures for Memoirists

 Writing memoir is hard work. You spend hours gazing into your past, mining memories for emotions and details, and coming to insights that

10 Ways to Prime the Creative Pump

10 Ways to Prime the Creative Pump

You haven’t heard from me in awhile. I’ve been in hibernation. Ever have one of those periods? I’ve been finishing a book and–let’s face it–grieving the loss of my mother and my dad, too, who died a few years earlier. I’ve been trying to figure […]

Triggering Words: A Mini-Memoir Exercise

Triggering Words: A Mini-Memoir Exercise

I found a note the other day I’d written months ago about words and how well chosen ones can evoke a world of story. That’s a trick with memoir—finding words brimming with emotion and then chasing the stories right out of them. When a reader brushes up against that story, his life bridges with yours; he recalls a similar time and place and thinks you’ve captured his life and feelings.

What stories come to mind with these words? Flight, beach, explosion, olives, toe, bicycle, guilt, locket, hideaway, newspaper, lips, jacket, trumpet, horseradish, soccer, flood, haircut, tomatoes, piano, eyebrows, lost, sailboat, oak, passport, storm, weep, sand, hammer, theater.

Make your own list. Choose words significant to you—you don’t need to know why. Write each on a scrap of paper and toss it into an elegant bowl you keep on your desk, or tucked into your writing corner. Draw one word each day and write a page or more. Tell the story brought forth by the word. At the end of the week you’ll have a mini-memoir.

Amazon the Monopoly: Getting Smart About Books

Amazon the Monopoly: Getting Smart About Books

Who amongst you has not anteed up for a book from Amazon? Admit it, even those of you

When Should You Show Your Memoir to Family or Friends?

When Should You Show Your Memoir to Family or Friends?

Never. At least not while you are working on it. That is what my gut tells me

Back to School: Memoir or Autobiography?

Back to School: Memoir or Autobiography?

We Americans love Back to School—memories of a fresh school year complete with new shoes and unknown books. (more…)

Finishing Your Memoir This Summer One Scene at a Time

Finishing Your Memoir This Summer One Scene at a Time

Everyone is writing a book, but only a few will finish their books, and only a select

A Marketer’s Response to Space and Time in Memoir

A Marketer’s Response to Space and Time in Memoir

I got a great response from marketing expert Carol White after I sent my last newsletter. Here’s what

Grounding Your Memoir in Space and Time

Grounding Your Memoir in Space and Time

I’ve read thousands of manuscripts and worked with hundreds of writers over (more…)

Dreams Do Come True

Dreams Do Come True

I don’t know if you read the recent New York Times editorial about the Irish civil servant, Donal Ryan, who wrote two novels, submitted them to agents and