Memories Dont Fade Like Hair Does: Memoir Writing Help for You, Our Elders, to Tell Your Story
~~~Old age, to the unlearned, is winter; to the learned, it's harvest time. ~ Yiddish saying~~~
You can tell your life story by biography, which is a whole book that starts from the start and ends at (or near) the end. But if you don't want to take on such a huge task, you can tell your story in snippets and snatches, through memoir writing.
Memoir writing consists of--as the word, from the Latin memoria, indicates--individual memories.
The convenience this affords us is this: --we can start at any place in our lives we want --we can write of an event, moment, idea, person, place, or object...in isolation --we don't need any order or convention to inhibit our getting words on paper...to start.
Let the Memoir Writing Come
Don't worry about grammar, punctuation, or any formatting or structure. Just jot down the first thing that comes and go with it, whether it takes you into another story, a description of other things, or your opinion.
We will, over time, cover different ways to remember, different ways to write, and then, later, ways to put the pieces all together--if you wish.
For now, let's start with a kind of memoir writing that we can use in every piece we write:
We need description. Our readers need description. And we need to get that description out of our heads and into details.
Details Our Readers Can Sense
Our goal (and power as writers) is to turn what we recall into what readers can feel, see, taste, touch, and hear, so we can get them as close to our memories as possible. One Way to Describe
This is fun with a friend, but you can do it alone, too, and e-mail me your results.
Get the following items from your pantry or ice box (or have someone bring them to you):
lemon peanuts in shell plain chocolate bar/drops/chips marshmallow kiwi Pop Rocks candy or Alka-Seltzer tablets. one small knife a notebook and writing tool
Work with one item at a time. 1. Look at the item. How does it look? Write down the texture, color, size, shape, and other words that you think of when you look at the item. 2. Touch the item. How does it feel? What does the temperature feel like, the texture, the weight? 3. Smell the food item. How does it smell? 4. Listen to the item. Does it have a sound? How about when you add it to water, put the knife to it, bite into it, or put it in your tongue? 5. How does it taste?
Here is the Challenge:
With every word you use to describe, try to push yourself (or your partner) to go beyond the obvious descriptive words. For example, if you find that the marshmallow is soft, what kind of soft is it? Is it soft the way fresh laundry is soft? The kind of soft in whipped cream? Is the sweet a candy sweet or a sweet gherkin sweet?
Imagine that you are describing the item to someone who has never seen/had one, someone from another planet, and you need to get the person to retrieve the item for you to save your life. (The same way you would need to describe a medication, so the person doesn't bring you a heart pill instead of a blood pressure pill.)
Be as unique and original as you can with your words.
Refuse to be satisfied with just "crunchy," "sour," "cold."
Then, when we go to the next assignment, you will be ready to bring to life the details of your past, your life story.
Note: Did you notice that pushing yourself to describe what you sensed inevitably evoked comparisons. Descriptions lend themselves to metaphors. Writers use metaphors to convey and express. You are now a writer!
N.H.-born prize-winning poet, creative nonfiction writer, memoirist, and award-winning Assoc. Prof. of English, Roxanne is also web content and freelance writer/founder of http://www.roxannewrites.com, a support site for academic, memoir, mental disability, and creative writers who need a nudge, a nod, or just ideas?of which Roxanne has 1,000s, so do stop in for a visit, as this sentence can't possibly get any longer?.
Italics Part 2 - Using Italics to Show Thoughts
Way back in your early school years, you were probably taught to use the tag "he thought" in your stories, to tip readers off that someone was thinking. If you substituted something more innovative, like "he pondered" or "Harry deliberated", you might even have scored a big red tick.
Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters ? Good Ideas for Stories
The principle for writing good screenplays begins with good idea generation and then the use of structure to extrapolate that idea into a coherent story.
A Perfect Day for Writers
In one of the exercises in my "Getting Started as a Freelance Writer" workshop, I ask participants to describe what a "perfect day" would be like for them.
How to Create Stories that Sizzle
How to Start Your Story with a Bang
Keeping a Journal - One of the Three Treasures to Leave Behind
(excerpted from the "How to Use a Journal" audio series by Jim Rohn)
Before You Write Your Book, Organize Its Parts - Part 1
If you are a serious writer who wants to publish and sell books and informational products, you need to be able to find all of its parts in a minute or less. Filing only the important parts of your book will yield fast-writing your book. With the tips below, you will find any book-related paper within two minutes!
Learning How To Write
As a student of Spanish, my goal was to think in Spanish. Skip the word-by-word translation so I'd have the necessary speed to speak and listen. I know words in Spanish that I'd be hard pressed to translate. Usually profanity, I confess. Chingow!
Have You Tested Your Theme Against Your Plot?
Creative Writing Tips ?
Writers Turn to the Internet for Support, Friendship and Advice
Riding on the fumes of potential, you take pen to paper or keyboard to monitor. Endless hours of creativity intermingle with apprehension, but your need to write engulfs your spirit. You swim high on the waves of excitement and trudge forward through the waves of doubt. Finally, your manuscript is complete.
Every writer knows that the urge to write is not always present. As a result, the dedicated writer writes anyway. Professional writers face the task without think too much about the actual activity. They have established the habit, so they sit down and put their thought to paper whether they are relevant to the project or not. They know that they can rewrite, revise, edit, and improve. They know that the first draft is not or need be the last.
Every Result is an Asset
Not long ago, I went to an Internet Marketing Seminar. One of the speakers was John Reese, a man who set the Internet world abuzz in August 2004 by achieving the amazing result of just over a million dollars worth of sales in 18 hours. The product, Traffic Secrets, was all about driving traffic to web sites in order to become known and ultimately make a profit.
Writing Technique: The Restaurant Syndrome
Picture this scene.
Aesop, Abraham Lincoln, and You
May I tell you about a writing technique shared by Aesop and Abe Lincoln?
Creating Great Business Correspondence
Obtaining the skills for writing good business correpondence is important; a job seeker needs to send customised job application letters. A secretary needs to send out an official invitation letter. A purchasing assistant may need to prepare an invoice. It does not necessarily imply that you must just have a good standard of English. You should remember that correspondence means to communicate a message. It is a two-way effort between the writer and the receiver.
Writing About Writing
What am I going to write about?Which topic is the best?Who is going to be interested in my article?
7 Secrets For Beating Writers Block
Most people can easily identify with the dreaded "writer's block". It is a well-known phenomenon that just about everyone has faced at one point in their lives.
Get Noticed! Eight Tips to Catching an Editors Eye
The first five pages of a novel are critical.
5 Ways to Break the Story Spell
You sink back into your favourite chair with a new book in your hand. With a barely perceptible sigh of anticipation, you turn to the first page. Ah, there's nothing like starting a brand new novel...
Writing For the Joy of It
As a child, I loved to write. I can't remember ever not writing.
Should I Keep Writing?
Writers are an insecure lot.
|home | site map|