Teaching—Examples of Lisa’s teaching

Is It Okay to Begin Writing a Memoir and then Turn It Into a Novel?

Is It Okay to Begin Writing a Memoir and then Turn It Into a Novel?

Sometimes the story we begin writing outgrows the boundaries of memoir and branches away from the task of reconstructing real people and lived events and leaps imaginatively into invention—first, invention of little this’s and that’s, and then (oops!) into the invention of bigger this’s and […]

Thinking About Truth and Your Family When Writing Memoir

Thinking About Truth and Your Family When Writing Memoir

Concerns about hurting family and friends are some of the most worrisome for memoirists. My advice? Quit obsessing about it and get on with the writing. Plenty of would-be memoirists have stopped themselves before even getting started, due to such concerns, and many who have […]

What’s the Biggest Challenge for the Memoirist Today?

What’s the Biggest Challenge for the Memoirist Today?

The biggest challenge facing today’s aspiring memoirist is little different than the biggest challenge facing the memoirist of twenty years ago when memoir underwent its contemporary resurgence: Distraction. The only thing that’s different is the form of distraction. Once it was television, videos, TiVO, DVDs—in […]

Why Do People Read Memoir, and What Are They Hoping to Find There?

Why Do People Read Memoir, and What Are They Hoping to Find There?

     Once upon a time, people who loved stories read novels to find keys for living a good life, for answers to the thorny questions of being human, for understanding why people behave the way to do, or to gain greater awareness of the dark […]

Memoir, Biography, Narrative Nonfiction—What Are They?

Memoir, Biography, Narrative Nonfiction—What Are They?

Here we are in February, the time of year when we throw ourselves back into writing and asking fundamental questions: What is a memoir? How is it different from biography, and how are both related to that thing called narrative nonfiction? Memoir is a story […]

Is Memoir Always About Someone’s Deep and Unconscious Pain?

Is Memoir Always About Someone’s Deep and Unconscious Pain?

The answer is: No. No. And no. But some people do come to the process of writing to sort out life experience, and most people are less likely to do that when things are soaring than when they have hit a bump. Hence, the common […]

How to Avoid Mid-Story Memoir Sag

How to Avoid Mid-Story Memoir Sag

  You are in good company if you’re battling mid-story sag. Nearly all memoir writers hit a point where they ask: What is this thing about? Where did I think I was going with this story? The rush of insight and excitement that drove their […]

Why Your Memoir Needs a Story Question

Why Your Memoir Needs a Story Question

In today’s marketplace, a memoir that attracts the attention of an agent pursues some story question. Without a story question, your memoir runs the risk of falling into family history, which may be deeply important to you, but not so interesting to anyone else. A […]

Three tips for staying motivated to finish your memoir

Three tips for staying motivated to finish your memoir

September is America’s traditional back-to-school month, and with it come renewed desires to finish that memoir you’ve been working on. Writers always ask: How can I stay motivated to finish my memoir? Here are three tips: First, you must have a heart-to-heart with yourself about […]

Why You Need to Understand Publisher Macmillan’s Stand Against Trump

Why You Need to Understand Publisher Macmillan’s Stand Against Trump

No matter what form of writing you practice, whether you are a memoirist, novelist, poet, essayist or journalist—or you are just beginning your dream of writing and publishing—you need to know and care about publisher Macmillan’s recent stand against Trump. What happened: If you have […]