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
  3. To participate in the free membership offering multiple downloads:



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!



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:


December Member Teleseminar

 December 11 , 2015


Weave History into Your Memoir and Create a Universal Connection

KimPearson_jpg for webWe want to welcome once again Kim Pearson, whose specialty is helping writers include research and history in their stories. Kim is also a ghostwriter and we are going to talk about that during our discussion as well.

Kim and I will talk about why and how our actions, thoughts, and feelings can have impact – on the whole world—especially now in the era of social media and world-wide connections. The discussion will explore the relationship between “big” history and an individual life. After all, our personal stories are part of history. Libraries have archived personal accounts of lived history for years and Mass-Observation in Britain gathered the personal history of as many citizens as it could to offer the personal stories of WWII Britain.

It’s important for us to remember that “history” is not a dry recital of dates and places: history IS stories, your stories and mine. No matter what you were doing, or how old you were, you participated and contributed to the events and trends of your time. In fact, part of my teaching as a memoir writer is to get memoir writers to include historical events on their personal timeline.

During this discussion you will:

  • Learn the four vital reasons why history is important to memoir
  • Learn Kim’s 5-step system that helps you use historical facts to give depth and context to your memoir
  • Hear true stories that will awaken your buried memories
  • Find out about how ghostwriting works—many memoirists have questions about how they can ghostwrite their family memoir, or have someone ghostwrite theirs. Bring your questions!

 Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and the owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of polished, professional, and compelling books.

She’s the author of non-fiction Making History: how to remember, record, interpret and share the events of your life, Dog Park Diary (ghostwritten for a dog!). She has ghostwritten (for people) more than 45 non-fiction books and memoirs. Her online program “Learn to Ghost” teaches others the fine art of ghostwriting.


Writing Memoir–The Amber of the Moment

Daisy hickman2015October Memoir Teleseminar

October  23, 2015

11 am PST   12 pm  MST  1 pm  CST   2 pm EST

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
Writing memoir can feel like this … like being “trapped in the amber of the moment.” So how can we work with this … how do we find our way through the amber to hints of clarity? What brings our work to life when we are focused on the past to a large extent? I spent seven years on my memoir, and every second was needed. Why? Because perspective and depth can only be found when time is transcended, so to speak. And to accomplish this, you have to see your manuscript as a living, breathing document – a force to be reckoned with, embraced, and celebrated.

Here are a few things that might help:

1. Trust your intuition
2. Accept the terrain
3. Don’t force the creative process
4. Seek a balanced approach to life/work
5. Illuminate your writing, your memoir, with the richness of hard-earned insights … think beyond self and consider how others might benefit

D. A. (Daisy) Hickman, poet, prose author, and publisher (Capturing Morning Press), is also the 2010 founder of SunnyRoomStudio—a creative, sunny space for kindred spirits. Here, you’ll find her author blog, book suggestions, kindred spirit quotes. Hickman also features inspiring Studio Guests (other writers, artists) in SunnyRoomStudio. The author holds a master’s degree in sociology (Iowa State University), and earned her bachelor’s degree in legal studies at Stephens College (Columbia, Missouri). A member of the Academy of American Poets and South Dakota State Poetry Society, Hickman is at work on a poetry collection, Barely Touching the Earth, and The Zen of Noah, literary nonfiction.

For author updates or to subscribe to Hickman’s blog, visit or follow SunnyRoomStudio on Facebook and Twitter.

Public email address:
Twitter: @dhsunwriter @mysunnystudio


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