Memoir Writing: Author Expectations

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If you are writing a memoir, you need to examine the presumptions you have of yourself and others.  You must ask and answer this question: why do you want to write a memoir? Continue reading

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it is a still quivering part of himself

With memory set smarting like a reopened wound, a man’s past is not simply a dead history, an outworn preparation of the present: it is not a repented error shaken loose from the life: it is a still quivering part of himself, bringing shudders and bitter flavors and the tinglings of a merited shame.

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Under the Influence: The Suggested Reading Page

Image by pippalou via morgueFile

When we read something it influences us. The degree of influence will depend on how susceptible (curious, open) we are to a particular viewpoint, mental image, or situation, and how well the piece is written.

Everyone has certain books, whether fiction or nonfiction, that have stayed in their mind. But memorable reads don’t just “stay in our mind.”  We incorporate the influence of what we’ve read into who we are and what we write.

In my upcoming guide for memoir writing there will be an Acknowledgements page in which I list articles and books I quote directly (and in some cases I’ll need to get permission first to do that quoting). But I am struck by the importance of the Suggested Reading page I’ll also include.

Rather than just throw together a list of publications that appear to relate to my topic, I’ll show the reader the influences on my philosophy and viewpoint. The reader will have the option, should they choose, to click a link and read material that expands on a specific assertion I’ve made.

The goal is to give the reader additional value, rather than slip in random information just to give my nonfiction book a more authoritative appearance.

Image by pippalou via morgueFile

Getting the Most out of Writing Groups: The Cot

Has your book been workshopped? This is one of the first questions I ask a writer who is looking for an editor. It’s even a good question to ask of someone who just wants a critique.

“Workshopping” a piece of writing means submitting it to a group of writers and asking for feedback. It also means listening to the feedback and frequently involves rewriting your piece, if your group is on its toes and you are capable of accepting constructive criticism. Continue reading

Four Ways to Reveal Character: A Different Take

If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a million times: “The four ways to reveal character in fiction are action, speech, appearance, thought.” My observation of what creates a memorable character is slightly different. In my view, speech and appearance exhibit personality, but personality (persona) is only one aspect of a character. Also, appearance is often modified by behavior. Continue reading

Once It Leaves Our Hands: The DRM Argument Continues

If you’re new to the “publishing world” and plan to self-publish an eBook, this is some of what you’re about to jump into. Last week, several self-published authors left comments of protest under the announcement Lulu Says Goodbye to DRM, while other authors stated they are on board with the decision. In between author comments, readers attempted to have their voices heard. Here is how the Lulu blog post begins:

Effective January 15, 2013, Lulu will no longer offer Adobe’s Digital Editions DRM as an option when publishing or revising eBook content in EPUB and PDF formats.

If you don’t already know, Lulu is a self-publishing service for authors, offering both print-on-demand books (printed and shipped upon individual order by customer) and eBooks (downloaded individually when ordered by customer). DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It’s computer code meant to block copying (known as piracy) of eBooks. Continue reading