Tag Archives: literature

New Ideas for a New Group: Memoir

As you know from last week, I’ve been thinking about writing a memoir for some time, maybe putting some of my mom’s memories in my collection of stories.
This morning Ann Dee and I sort of chatted about starting a group that gets together and shares bits of memoirs we have written.
If we do this, we can share some insight on what we learn, here, as we go.
So here’s a definition from dic.com:
Mem-oir    [mem-wahr, -wawr] Show IPA
noun

1.

a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.
2.

Usually, memoirs.

a.

an account of one’s personal life and experiences; autobiography.
b.

the published record of the proceedings of a group or organization, as of a learned society.
3.

a biography or biographical sketch.
Origin:
1560–70;  < French mémoire  < Latin memoria
Synonyms
2a. journal, recollections, reminiscences.
While we can’t all be in a group together–you know–meeting physically–we CAN focus on memoir here, twice a month, with writing exercises and etc.
What do you think?
Would you like to play?
Let’s Start with Some Good Reading
Here are some good memoirs, just for the fun of it.
Of course, we have to go with Stephen King’s memoir and book on the craft of writing called On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
I love this book! It’s smart and funny and revealing. And it teaches good writing, too.
A Girl Named Zippy: Growing up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel
My friend Lance Larsen (keynote at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers [www.wifyr.com]–this keynote is open to the world, free of charge. Come to it. Lance is a great writer and will give us some terrific pointers on writing like  poet.) told me for years to read Zippy. One day at a garage sale I saw a copy of the memoir for .75 and I couldn’t believe it. That is SO MUCH for me to spend on a book. But I remembered Lance telling me to read Zippy. So I circled the memoir (laying on a blanket–the book, not me) and finally decided since Lance said I should, I would buy and then read this. I did. It’s great! Well worth .75 (though I wish I could have gotten the book for a half dollar instead.)
Angela’s Ashes by  Frank McCourt. I loved just about everything about this book. I loved the voice, the way McCourt puts the words on the page, how he paints a picture. I didn’t love the end of the book, but that is just me.
So, if you wanted to play the memoir game with us, I would start with these three titles. And I know Ann Dee has HER favorite books. She may share.
Many of you know that I am a Latter-day Saint. For those interested, here is a quote by Elder B. Henry Eyring. He’s talking about writing a journal or a memoir. He says, “My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies.” (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/o-remember-remember?lang=eng)
It seems when I have sunk as low as I can go, when I tell Heavenly Father, “I am done!” He answers me.
If I write a memoir, it will be for the spiritual times, and the funny times and the heart-breaking times.
For me.
For my girls.
My girls always tell me to be happy. And I try.
Maybe a memoir will help them understand me more.
For sure, a memoir will help me understand me more.
And maybe it will help me become a better writer.
And that’s a good goal.
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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Exercises, writing process

Three Things Thursday and The Day of Accountability

I am running these two spots together because Cait has arranged with a very good friend–for us to go on vacation!!!!

I haven’t been on a vacation in years. Like 5 or more years. And before that it was 10 years. Whenever I travel I am always working.

I’m a little scared.

And a lot floored.

What will I do with myself?

 

Thank you, Friend, who would trust us in her vacation home.

 

So Three Things Thursday

1. Using some world event, write the beginning of a dystopian novel.  Give yourself less than 20 minutes. In part of that time, sketch out the plot.

2. Spend some time this weekend reading a short story by Flannery O’Connor. Pick a story you are not familiar with. For those of you who have never read O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find is not a bad study. And that’s what I want you to do. Study what O’Connor does with language. With pacing. With the element of surprise. What can you learn from her writing?  Etc.

My first teachers were the men and women I read. I’ve mentioned this before. Want to be a strong writer? Read, read, read.

3. Find a writing partner that will play this game with you:

Start with an idea the two of you agree on. Give yourselves an end point– how long you will go before you finish (a short story–a picture book [write fewer words when you switch off–see below], a chapter book, a full-blown novel, etc)? Know this in advance.

One of you write the first 150 words. Clean it up. Make it strong.

Now send that 150 words on to your partner.

She should write 150 words. Good, strong, story-moving-forward words.

Go back and forth until your piece is done.

Well, what do you have?

 

Ann Dee keeps saying, “Send me the beginning of a novel, Carol, and I will write a book with you.”

Perhaps on my vacation I will come up with that idea!

 

The Day of Accountability

What did you get done this week?

Are you happy with your work?

Did you do the five exercises I started the week out with?

Will you be ready to share those next week?

What did you read this week?

How did it help you as a writer?

Are you treating your writing as your job?

Are you giving your writing the time you need to succeed?

Think about these questions this weekend.

 

And see you Monday afternoon or evening!

 

 

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, three thing thursday

Something for You to Do (Because We All Know You Aren’t Busy Enough)

Three things about me and yesterday:

1. Last night I washed my hands right before bed.

Then I went to take out my contact lens and found–when it was too late–that I had left a large blob of soap on my fingertip. That blob of soap went into my eye. There was so much, no lie, that it foamed up as I blinked and tried to wash the stuff out.

Today I have a bit of a handicap. Won’t be able to see to drive. Eye nearly shut. Sort of alligator looking.

2. Still no house. I am almost numb now. What are we to do?

3. I am reading (started yesterday) John M. Cusick’s funny YA novel CHERRY MONEY BABY. Quite enjoying myself. 🙂

 

But on to writing!

Over the next week, take these five starts and write–one per day.

Spend no more than 15 minutes per (unless you get excited and want to write longer).

Write to explore the idea. Use sense of place. Use strong dialog.  Pretend like each of these books is a new start for you. Don’t use up your own novel writing time, but  give yourself an extra fifteen minutes, each day, to play with us.

Next week, we will share.

There is no particular order. By the end of the week, though, you want to have worked on all these starts. They may be first lines for you, they may be in the middle of the 15 minutes, they may be the end. Doesn’t matter. You decide.

Here goes!

 

# When Maddy stepped out her front door, she saw right away that things had gone wrong with the world.

# Poppy spit a stream of tobacco juice, catching a little in his beard.

“Charlotte,” he said, “You and me got some talking to do.”

#”Mark!”

In the background of my mind, somewhere deep in the anger, I heard my name.

“Mark! Stop it!”

Her voice was louder. More clear. And I was more aware of the pain. Pain everywhere.

#Why did he always, always, take dares?

# Where was Bella? I glanced at the clock and my heart pounded with the clicking second hand. If she didn’t get here quick . . .

What was it with these  unionized fairy godmothers? They worked in shifts or not at all, took long breaks and refused to give a princess what she wanted.

 

Happy writing. Have fun. Play. Just as bed-ridden, amazing Ann Dee would say.

 

PS Please pass on word of WIFYR (www.wifyr.com) to any and all your writing and illustrating friends. Remind them about the $1000 prize and possible publication prize, open to all attendees.

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Filed under Ann Dee, Character, CLW, Exercises, First Line

The Day of Accountability

So what did you do this week as far as writing?

Ann Dee let having a baby get in the way.

I let moving out of the house I was supposed to move into get in the way.

But what about you–the faithful writer who gets her pages done, no matter what?

Let us know what you accomplished.

 

Remember how I keep saying, I am going to read this summer.

(Maybe I am only saying that here at home.

Well, I mean it.)

 

Something to peruse:

http://www.teenreads.com/teenreadscom-ultimate-reading-list

 

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Filed under CLW, writing process

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Everything doesn’t happen for a reason.
But some things do.
Every time an airplane flies overhead I imagine a bomb being dropped.
Then the end.
But what happens after the end?
If your character dies at the beginning of the story, what happens to her after the third chapter?
This is something I’m trying to figure out right now.
She dies for a reason. But I can’t figure out that reason either.
I’m on a springtime cleanse/diet right now. My roommate had a few friends over last night. They all got way drunk and drank my cleansing drink.
Is it wrong to hope it makes them sick?
Yes.
But I still secretly hope so.
I never noticed how many cravings I consistently have until now.
During this cleanse I’ve been trying to write a brand new story idea, and rewrite the hell out of another story.
It’s actually helped me focus, and also distract myself from my hungry belly.
I only have one more day.
I hope I can finish this rewrite.
Do you ever write and thing “I need someone else to read this?”
That’s where I’m at.
I don’t want to be a grown-up anymore.
When is a time machine going to be invented?
This post is all over the place.
I’m in the middle of WAITING written by my mother. It’s good.
She’s the best.
You’re all the best.
I hope to see everyone at dinner next Monday at 7 pm.
PS. I went to court on Monday and it was dismissed. I am a record-free woman.
Yay me.

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Filed under Character, Exercises, Kyra, Plot, writing process

How Did You Do?

I hope the two week writing marathon was fun for you and you accomplished your goals. I didn’t get everything done. But during the writing, I saw  my book had a flaw, and when I went back through it in my mind I realized exactly where I went wrong.

A shift here, a shift there and the book goes into my agent.

So far we have six people planning on coming to the reading/dinner. For those of you who have food allergies, there is no set plan on the menu. You may choose what you want to eat.

If this is successful, I think this might be a fun place to gather and be writers and do readings and talk books.

So mark your calendars: April 8, 7:00 pm, Station 22.

(Ann Dee, is that right? It may be 7:30. It’s whatever time I told you before!)

FYI–a note about Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (www.wifyr.com). Steve Fraser is one of the agents returning to the conference. For attendees only–there is the chance to win a Chat about Your Career with him.

Also, the WIFYR writing contest with a $1000 prize–there’s something new. The winner will be considered for publication by Familius. Cheri Pray Earl and I have a series coming out with them, starting this year. We’re excited about the possibilities with this new publishing company.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Writing for Charity event (April 27, at UVU) and for LDS Storymakers conference (in May).

Plus–we’re thinking of having a charity event, too. This will be several hours of writing and will end with a dance. As details unfold, we’ll let you know.

Now, I am off to court with Kyra.

And then back to pack and finish up my novel.

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Filed under Agents, CLW, Writing Marathon

The Day of Accountability AND Day Twelve!

So far we have five people in for lunch and the reading on April 8.

Or dinner. It might be dinner.

I’m not sure when we are meeting yet. Waiting to hear from the boss. But we do have our venue!

So how has the writing gone for you all?

We are nearly done with our marathon. We have just Friday (today), Saturday, Sunday (if you write on Easter) and Monday.

Will you reach your goal?

Will you reach your secret goal?

It’s a for sure that I will not reach my secret goal, which was start a new book.

But I will finish this novel, and I will do the rewriting of another. And maybe even another one, maybe, if my writing partner can come over and work with me.

That’s what I think right now.

Now, a note to Sue–I saw on Facebook that you are a little nervous about learning more and more and more about writing and how to put all you learn into action.

Remember what John Steinbeck said: “When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all that I can permit myself to contemplate.”

Just one day at a time is what you have to do. One day at a time of learning something new and then seeing how to implement what you have learned, one day at a time of rewriting, one day at a time of  whatever you are doing to make yourself the best writer possible.

This really goes to all of us.

One day. ‘Cause that’s how life is, huh?

 

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Filed under CLW, Writing Marathon, writing process