Not only do I devour memoirs, I also have written my own, and I coach memoir writers on turning their memories into manuscripts.
Three months ago I started writing a memoir. This story has been hiding in my brain for the last decade, percolating without me knowing it.
Long story short, back in middle school I started dating a guy and it turned into a seven-year, mildly abusive relationship. A decade after it ended, I realized the microscopic hooks that found their way into my veins so long ago were still part of me today.
Three months ago, I woke up. Do I start at the beginning of the story and end at the end? Should the book be a series of flashbacks? Do I write the last page first? Do I transcribe my journals? Or do I just sit down and start with whatever comes out?
But while King helped me understand the importance of daily writing habits and slaughtering adverbs, his approach scared me.
Apparently King just sits at his desk and starts telling the story, a story with characters who magically write themselves, a story that simply takes on a life of its own, beginning to end.
I sat down and tried to write the first scene of my story. Two problems promptly ugh, adverb, sorry presented themselves: My first attempt was horrible.
I started writing about the day Tom not his real name, of course and I met. What tumbled out was a list of actions: Someone dared us to kiss. I should definitely never write books and should probably just push papers for the rest of forever.
Copy someone else What I wanted to know was how to write well. How to structure my story. Not just the book, but a paragraph.
So what if I just copied someone else? I opened the first page of one of my favorite memoirs, Eat, Pray, Love. Lucky for me, the first scene was about a kiss.
Oh, but there are so many reasons why this would be a terrible idea. To begin with, Giovanni is ten years younger than I am, and — like most Italian guys in their twenties — he still lives with his mother. I was sinking into the couch, surrounded by an array of other sweaty thirteen-year-olds, tugging at my shapeless T-shirt, praying someone would dare him to kiss me.
It was just getting dark outside, the floor-to-ceiling windows, curtain-less, making me feel like we were alone, tension rising, in a cave.
I felt instant relief. A headspace where I could more easily capture tone and rhythm and sensation. A headspace I trusted to tell my story. For weeks I did this, religiously opening my favorite books and copying their structure.
It they started with an action, i. Copying other writers only lasted a few minutes before I found myself mid-rampage, tearing through my story, able to tap into my own style. I took it story by story, memory by memory. Create a to-do list and use helpful tools At the beginning, I was using Evernote to create a new note for every memory.
After while though, my brain scattered. Where was the kiss story again? Unfortunately, Evernote sorts by the date you last edited a note, and it was getting messy. I did a bit of Googling and discovered Scrivenera tool to help you organize not only your writing, but your notes and table of contents and research.
I downloaded their free trial and played around.Start Writing, Keep Writing Write Now: Wednesday Evenings Creative writing is fun! And finding your voice doesn’t have to be hard work.
It’s just a matter of letting your words and ideas flow onto the page without tinkering and re-tinkering your way into a . A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of .
In settings such as in boardrooms, classrooms, staff retreats, and conferences, Six-Word Memoirs® is a simple concept that’s become an effective tool to spark conversation, crystalize goals, and . Writing projects Six Word Memoirs Inspired by the book Not Quite What I was Planning: Six Word Memoirs from Writers Famous and Obscure, edited by Penn alumni Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser, the Hub decided to write their own six-word stories.
I first discovered six-word memoirs while reading Gretchen Rubin’s interview with Larry Smith.
Smith is the editor of SMITH magazine, home to the idea of writing your life in six words. Scott Murray: When Johan Cruyff sold Jan Olsson the mother of all dummies with the subtlest of swerves, his trick became the enduring symbol of Total Football.