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Online Conference for Nonfiction (and Fiction) Writers!

Do you write nonfiction? Or want to? How about a conference you can attend in your PJs and slippers while sitting on your couch?

I love writing nonfiction. If you’re a novelist, you might want to branch out. There are so many terrific writing opportunities for nonfiction material, and it may behoove you to do some article and NF book writing while you are waiting for that novel to sell (or to take a break from the fiction grind).

A lot of these talks and workshops apply to both fiction and nonfiction writing!

The 8th annual Nonfiction Writers Conference returns May 2-4, 2018. This event is completely virtual; attendees participate via phone or Skype. Continue Reading…

Beginnings and Endings for Your Memoir

I’ve been sharing excerpts from my new book The Memoir Workbook. Today we’re going to consider the starting and ending points for your memoir.

Your memoir obviously needs to start somewhere and end somewhere, and since you’re not writing an autobiography with the purpose of detailing your entire life, you need to spend time thinking about the time frame.

One writer suggests: “Start anywhere. Because no matter where you start, you’ll end up where you’re meant to be.” I disagree. From my experience in critiquing and editing hundreds of manuscripts, including memoir, if you start anywhere, you may wander off to Shangri-la and find yourself stuck in a snowdrift—not where you’d planned to go.

As with any journey, you need a specific starting point that will actually get you to your targeted destination.

Your memoir may cover three days of your life or it may cover thirty years. You could be writing a gripping story of the time you got trapped in a hotel during a tsunami or the year you spent living abroad. The duration is contingent on the particular story you aim to tell.

This is why it’s important to know your purpose in writing this particular memoir and your themes.

Since your memoir is going to pull from various anecdotes in your life to support your theme or topic, you want to determine what event in your life is best to springboard your story. Continue Reading…

Protecting Yourself and Others When Writing a Memoir

Here are some more excerpts from my new book, The Memoir Workbook. If you’ve thought about writing a memoir, you need to think about how you will protect yourself and others from emotional or legal harm .

You may not have considered that writing about your life could be a dangerous endeavor. The degree of danger could vary from emotional distress to legal action to threats on your life. Hopefully, your story won’t put you in anyone’s crosshairs, but for some baring the truth, it has done just that.

But for most people beginning the journey of writing memoir, the greatest threat is to their own heart. And from their own heart.

As noted in the Introduction, a journey into the heart can open the door to pain, anger, hurt, and other emotions. While it may be natural to shy away from reliving painful experiences, if you want readers to feel any intense emotions you felt as you went through those moments, you will have to dredge them up yourself and articulate them to faithfully convey them and help readers empathize with your experiences. Continue Reading…

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