Member Teleseminar

The Craft of Memoir – Write Like a Novelist

NAMW August Member Teleseminar–Marcia Butler

August 18, 2017

11 AM PDT   12 PM MDT  1 PM CDT  2 PM EDT

One of the greatest compliments I received when my memoir was published was hearing from reviewers and readers alike that my book “read like a novel.”  Most memoirs have a gripping tale to tell, which is vital not only from a publisher’s standpoint, but also for the expectation of the devoted reader of this form. Yet, skillful and nuanced storytelling must be a goal not only of the novelist but of memoirists as well.

After all, there is only one difference between fiction and memoir. In the case of a novel the plot is made up. But the memoirist knows the story and all the characters. We know how the protagonist will succeed and fail; who lives and who dies. The memoirist is in full command of thoughts, feelings, memories, the beginning and the ending. Novelists make their decisions throughout the writing process, tossing out characters and plot threads that don’t serve the narrative.

But memoirists know the stakes from the very beginning and it is our job to tell our story with compassion, craft and intelligence. We must keep the reader turning the pages, eager to see what happens next by pacing the action, by writing believable dialogue and by creating chapters that satisfy as a whole. Just like a great novel.

In my teleseminar, I’ll show you how to tell your life story with the skill and nuance of a novelist.

  • Build your world view
  • The process of selecting scenes for inclusion – must we tell everything?
  • How to make a distant yet important memory come to life
  • Short lens and long lens as a way to create depth and space in a scene
  • Writing from anger and grief – keep this in check and remain be a believable character/writer
  • Craft dials apply to memoir too – use the senses
  • Some characters do not warrant page space – choose carefully
  • Know what your story (plot) is – life is big but a book can contain only so much
  • How to get your character “across the room” – tools to elide gaps in time or compress time

 

Marcia Butler Short Bio:

Marcia Butler is the debut author of the nationally acclaimed memoir, The Skin Above My Knee. She was a professional oboist for twenty-five years until her retirement in 2008. During her musical career, she performed as a principal oboist and soloist on the most renowned of New York and international stages, with many high-profile musicians and orchestras – including pianist Andre Watts, and composer and pianist Keith Jarrett. Marcia was a 2015 recipient of a Writer-in-Residence through Aspen Words and the Catto Shaw Foundation. Her work has been published in Literary Hub, PANK Magazine, Psychology Today Magazine, The Aspen Institute, BioStories and others. She has written a novel which is currently out for sale to publishers. Marcia lives in New York City.

 

Explorations Beyond the Traditional Memoir: Taking the Authority to Write another Person’s Story

Denis Ledoux

July Member Teleseminar

July 21, 2017

11 AM PDT  12 PM MDT   1 PM CDT  2 PM EDT

When you write your own memoir, you have access to the expert: you. While this is not easy, there are fewer hurdles to manage when writing about your life than when you write someone else’s story. You have to get into the point of view of someone whose life you have not lived. While writing through the eyes of someone else is related to ghostwriting, it’s different and Denis will discuss these differences.

In this presentation, Denis Ledoux, memoir writer, teacher, coach, editor and ghostwriter will share what he sees as the differences between ghostwriting and claiming another’s point of view. He wrote his mother’s memoir We Were Not Spoiled [written with her as a somewhat-passive informant] and his wife’s, A Sugary Frosting—A Memoir of a Girlhood Spent in a Parsonage and My Eye Fell into The Soup—A Journal Memoir of Living with Stage 4 Cancer [written after her death].

Denis will discuss:

  1. Assuming the authority to write the memoir of another person from the first person and why that is essential. Assuming this authority separates memoir from biography.
  2. When you can do this and when you can’t.
  3. Using Memory Lists to outline and explore the person’s life. Memory Listing is perhaps as close as you get to a magic bullet to banish writer’s block and keep you writing month after month.
  4. Researching the bigger picture to have a context for writing about a life with perspective and historical insights.
  5. Interpreting the person’s life using the Memory List, your intuition, and research. Interpretation can be dangerous territory, and Denis will offer suggestions for navigating it safely to publication.
  6. Finding and working with review persons to help authenticate / validate what you wrote.

Denis Ledoux’s flagship book, Turning Memories Into Memoirs / A Handbook for Writing Lifestories [available both in e- and hard copy], has been joined on Amazon by a number of other how-to books. Among them are Don’t Let Writer’s Block Stop You, Start Your Memoir Right and the free Memoir Writing 101. In the summer of 2017, he published the e- and the hard-copy of My Eye Fell Into The Soup / A Journal Memoir of Living with Stage 4 Cancer. It is drawn both from his wife’s journals and his own. My Eye Fell Into The Soup is the third in a series of five memoirs focused on his wife. The first in the series, The Nice-Nice Club Holds Its Last Meeting, is available free on Amazon.

  1. To access the most current catalog of his writing books, his memoirs, and other titles, visit the memoir store.
  2. To read over 500 free articles on memoir writing, go to http://thememoirnetwork.com/memoir-blog.
  3. To participate in the free membership offering multiple downloads: http://thememoirnetwork.com

 

 

Five ways that Writing a Memoir Helps you Find Your Authentic Self and Voice

Jerry Waxler

June Member webinar

June 23, 2017

11 AM PDT  12 PM MDT   1 PM CDT  2 PM EDT

When you first think about writing the story of your life, you may remember major challenges or disruptions. Over time, you begin looking at yourself as the hero/heroine on a quest to find something. What is the thing you’re looking for? What is the purpose of your life journey?

In this presentation, Jerry Waxler, memoir author and teacher, will show how the Memoir Revolution, currently in swing for people of all ages, is about finding the True You, hidden within all the complexities of your unique experiences.

We’ll explore five ways that memoir writing is about finding your authentic self.

  1. Becoming you in the first place (the coming of age memoir)
  2. Reestablishing a sense of self-worth and empowerment after illness or loss of a loved one (grieving, recovery from trauma)
  3. Course correction: Adjusting or readjusting personhood in midlife
  4. Finding true cultural connection (finding one’s way through identity challenges, immigration, mixed culture, religion, or race)
  5. Returning, through your memories, to discover the truth and meaning of your own past

Jerry Waxler writes, coaches, and teaches about how to awaken human potential through life story writing. Jerry’s blog and book Memoir Revolution champions the social trend to turn life into Story. His self-help book, How to Become a Heroic Writer, provides self-help tools to find the courage and time to write your own story. Jerry’s memoir Thinking My Way to the End of the World is about his attempt to come of age during the sixties. He is on the advisory board of the National Association of Memoirs. He has a master’s degree in counseling psychology, and teaches writing classes at Northampton Community College.

 

How Do You Choose the Best Storytelling Structure For Your Story?

Beth Barany

May Member Webinar

May 12, 2017

11 AM PDT  12 PM MDT  1 PM CDT  2 PM EDT 

How to choose the right structure for your story is a question that haunts most writers. Especially intuitive writers — pantsers — who tend to write organically.

Why does a story’s structure make writing it easier…or harder? When you find a storytelling structure that resonates with the kind of story you want to tell, the right structure stimulates your imagination.

Choosing the wrong structure can cause you to get stuck—because the structure works against you as you’re telling the story. You might mistake it for writer’s block. And spend weeks…or months…being stuck.

(Story structure is NOT plot. But story structure gives rise to plot.)

Join us for this NAMW webinar where we discuss “How to Choose Your Story’s Structure.”

In this webinar, you’ll learn the ins and outs of five powerful storytelling structures:

  • The Three-Act Structure
  • The Hero’s Journey
  • The Virgin Archetypal Journey
  • The 5-Point Plot Structure
  • The Five Commandments of Storytelling

We’ll also discuss:

  • what kinds of stories each structure lends itself to
  • how each structure is related to the other four, and
  • how “obligatory scenes” fit into these structures. If you’ve tried to plot according to a traditional story structure but it hasn’t worked…

If your stories feel “off” but you can’t put your finger on why…

If you’ve been confused by the Hero’s Journey or three-act structure in the past…

…don’t miss out on this chance to master five powerful storytelling structures and take your stories to the next level!

 

ABOUT BETH BARANY

Beth Barany is a certified creativity coach, NLP Practitioner, and keynote speaker. She helps fiction writers get their writing done and out into the world via Barany School of Fiction and the Writer’s Fun Zone blog. She’s the bestselling author of The Writer’s Adventure Guide and Overcome Writer’s Block. Her most recent book for writers is Twitter For Authors.

Beth writes young adult fantasy and paranormal romance. Her young adult epic fantasy novel, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, now the first book in a trilogy, won the Grand Prize in the 2012 California Book Fiction Challenge. Check out her free 5-day Writer’s Motivation mini-course: http://bethbarany.com/5daycourse.htm.

 

The Problem of Men in Memoir

Jed Diamond, Ph.D., LCSW

April Member Webinar

April 21, 2017

11 AM PDT  12 PM MDT  1 PM CDT  2 PM EDT

It isn’t easy being a man or writing about men. Yet we all have men in our lives. We were all conceived in the magic moment a lucky sperm was allowed entrance by a welcoming egg. Fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, grandsons; many are important figures in our lives, but writing about them can be difficult.

As a an author and psychotherapist for more than 40 years, I have helped men and the women who love them to live long and well. In this seminar, I will help you better understand the nature of men so you can write more deeply and honestly about the males in your life.

In my first book, Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man, I recall the day my father took an overdose of sleeping pills and was hospitalized at Camarillo State Hospital, north of Los Angeles. I was five years old and grew up wondering what happened to my father and whether I would someday “go crazy” and end up in the “nuthouse.” When my first son, Jemal, was born in 1969, I made a vow that I would be a different kind of father than my father had been able to be for me and I would work to create a different kind of world where families didn’t go through the traumas that my family experienced.

After reading Mark Wolynn’s book, It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, I expanded my understanding of men to include my mother’s father, the man I was named after, who died suddenly when my mother was five years old. My mother never talked about him, but he was always a powerful, yet shadowy, presence in my life.

I came to realize that I could never feel totally successful in my life, or in my relationships, until I came to peace with my father and the other male members of my family.

In this revealing and engaging hour you’ll learn:

  • How to understand the conscious and subconscious power men have in our lives.
  • Why men are the way they are—From the Y chromosome to the male brain.
  • To recognize the importance of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in understanding men.
  • How to get inside the heart and soul of men who are reluctant to talk so you can “hear the sound that male cells sing.”
  • Why we must address male shame and how to tell the truth about men without wounding them further.

Jed Diamond, Ph.D., LCSW, is one of the world’s leading experts on men’s health. He has written 14 books including international best-sellers, Surviving Male Menopause, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, and The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression. His most recent book, The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationships and Why the Best is Still to Come was released in 2016. Visit him at www.MenAlive.com and www.TheEnlightenedMarriage.com.

 


This is our monthly member webinar and is for NAMW members only.  If you are a NAMW member, you will receive the webinar access information via email and can also find it in the Members Area by clicking the Event Phone Numbers link.

If you are not a NAMW member yet, we encourage you to join!  Click here to learn about what other benefits are reserved for our members only.

Testimonials

Myers makes a compelling case for the power of words as a form of healing and growth.

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D. professor of psychology, The University of Texas at Austin and author, Opening Up and Writing To Heal

...the NAMW memoir classes with Linda Joy Myers are wonderful

Kathy Pooler