The Power of Story: Write a Memoir with Heart and Craft
What Your Reader Really Wants: 5 Steps to Writing an Irresistible Memoir
Every writer wants two things: to tell a story that hooks readers and never lets them go, and to find a way to accomplish that without going through the long slog of writing draft after draft. In this teleseminar we’ll examine the five steps to take before you start writing that will save you months (or years) of hard work, not to mention heartache and frustration. You’ll unearth the key story elements beneath the plot that bring it to life, drive it forward, and give it meaning. These elements have little to do with the surface events or “writing well” and everything to do with what we’re hardwired to respond to in every story we read. Learning what your reader’s brain craves, and why, will allow you to zero in on what your story is really about before you write word one. You’ll not only produce a more powerful memoir, chances are you’ll drastically reduce your rewrite time.
- Why story isn’t about what happens externally, but about an internal change.
- How to avoid the reason most memoirists fail – i.e. they tell us what happened, without realizing that the story is really about how what happened changed them. St
- The need to be vulnerable, and go deep. If you don’t have something to learn when the memoir begins, you have nothing to teach us. The reader doesn’t care about what happened to you, they care about how the lessons you learned along the way can help them navigate their own life.
- How to figure out what your memoir is actually about by zeroing in on the point you’re making.
- How to pinpoint the internal change you’ll make based on what events will force you to deal with.
- How to isolate the specific story you’re telling from the rest of your life.
- How to use backstory to create the lens through which you’ll evaluate what happens to you in the moment, on the page, as you make sense of what’s happening to you
Lisa Cron is the author of Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers From the Very First Sentence (Ten Speed Press), and her video tutorial Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story can be found at Lynda.com. Her TEDx talk, Wired for Story, opened Furman University’s 2014 TEDx conference, Stories: The Common Thread of Our Humanity. Her new book, Story Genuis: How to Use Brain Science to Crack the Code of Your Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) will be released in August, 2016. She’s a story coach helping writers, nonprofits, educators and memoirists wrangle their story onto the page.
Choose the Form for Your Memoir—Book, Mini-Memoir, Flash Memoir, Anthology
A memoir allows you to leave a legacy, and there are many choices for how to fulfill that desire. You can write a long-form book, which as you know takes a lot of time, even years. But while you are writing your book, you can select sections to publish as an eBook, or send out to literary magazines, or publish in an anthology. You can even choose to write a very short flash memoir. All forms of your memoir are acceptable. In this teleseminar we’re going to look at the choices you can make to not only get your legacy written, but published and shared with the world.
You will learn:
- How to think out of the box about your life story.
- What a memoir anthology is and how to focus your work toward that goal.
- The short memoir, often called a mini-memoir –different from a flash memoir, which is another form you can choose.
- The personal essay—how it is similar and different from a memoir “story.”
Each of these forms presents you a choice for your writing and publishing life, and helps you to think bigger than the book. During this teleseminar you will find out more about how to think about your life story in new ways and choose how you would like to implement these ideas.
Denis Ledoux grew up in a three-generation home with paternal grandparents who lived upstairs. Stories have always played an important role in Denis’ life. As a child, he heard tales of his extended family and their history recounted by the family storyteller, his memere. He directs the The Memoir Network, an international group of life story writing teachers who use his methods and materials.
Denis holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Education. As a short story writer, he drew on family characters, settings, and stories for his fiction. In 1989, he won the Maine Fiction Award for Mountain Dance & Other Stories. His other titles include What Became of Them and Other Stories from Franco-America, and Lives in Translation: An Anthology of Contemporary Franco-American Writings which he edited. Denis’ short fiction has twice been honored with the Maine Writing Fellowship Award (1991, 1996), an NEA-based merit award.
Saving our Lives through Writing
Amy Ferris and I have something in common: we have seen how powerfully story acts as a witness to our lives, there on the page, there with words and sentences. We have observed firsthand how writing helps to save people’s spirits from being lost in depression, and acts as a guiding light to help create a path to fullness and joy. Hope is an important part of survival and for becoming who we were meant to be. Join us in this inspiring conversation about how important it is to get your story on the page, first for you. Then you can think bigger—how do I connect with others with my story? Maybe we all don’t have to be so alone with the truths of our lives.
You will learn:
- How the power of story to create a new foundation for our souls and create a bridge to others.
- About the healing power of story and the research by Dr. James Pennebaker
- How story helps to change the brain and heal the body
- Techniques that you can use to tease out and invite your hidden stories to be revealed.
amy ferris is an author, screenwriter, essayist, playwright and editor. She edited the upcoming new anthology Shades of Blue, to be released October, 2015. her memoir, marrying george clooney, confessions from a midlife crisis (seal press) was adapted in an off-broadway play in 2012. she has written films (mr. wonderful, anthony minghella, director and funny valentines, julie dash, director), tv, and has contributed to numerous anthologies, including the one she co-edited, dancing at the shame prom (seal press). she was guest editor-in-chief for two magazine, glossies, where she created the annual all women’s issue. amy lives in pennsylvania with her husband and two cats. she is very content on most days.
How to Make People Fall in Love with Your Memoir
Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Myers
Your main job as a memoirist is to give something of value to your readers as you tell your story. To do that, you need to know about voice, the narrative arc, writing a great scene, and how to create a takeaway for your reader. We are excited to share with you the latest craft information that we have gleaned from analyzing The Liars’ Club, The Glass Castle, Angela’s Ashes, The Tender Bar, and the new memoir, H is for Hawk.
- Why will the reader care about your story?
- Scenes, the building blocks of great storytelling.
- Making a connection with the reader by keeping an eye on takeaway.
- Creating a narrative voice with authenticity and personality.
- Guiding the reader deep into the meaning and emotions of your story through solid story-building.
Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of What’s Your Book? and How to Sell Your Memoir. Brooke’s expertise is in traditional and new publishing, and she is an equal advocate for publishing with a traditional house and self-publishing. She sits on the board of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW). Her website was selected by The Write Life as one of the Top 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014. She lives and works in Berkeley, California.
Linda Joy Myers is president of the National Association of Memoir Writers, and a therapist for 35 years. She’s the award winning author of Don’t Call Me Mother—A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness, The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story, The Journey of Memoir and Becoming Whole—Writing Your Healing Story. Don’t Call Me Mother and Becoming Whole were finalists in the ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. Linda co-teaches the program Write Your Memoir in Six Months, and offers editing and coaching for writers. www.namw.org. Blog: http://memoriesandmemoirs.com