Tag Archives: truth in memoir

March Roundtable Webinar- FREE to All- April 6, 2017

Betsy Graziani Fasbinder

Exposed: Telling Our Deep Truths in Memoir or Fiction

April 6, 2017

 4 PM PST  5 PM MST  6 PM CST  7 PM EST  

We want to welcome Betsy Graziani Fasbinder to our book discussion this month. We have been in the same writing group for over fourteen years, the Bellas, and here at NAMW we are celebrating her first memoir, Filling Her Shoes, but it’s not her first book. Three years ago her novel Fire and Water was published from which she drew personal experiences to create a fictional story. The core of a story is the truth you need to tell, and today we’re going to hear from Betsy how she transitioned from fiction writer to the full out exposure in a memoir. Congratulations Betsy!

_______________________________________________________________

When Betsy Graziani Fasbinder was about to marry her husband, a widowed father, she knew she’d also become her first son’s second mother. She knew that she didn’t want to become any version of a wicked stepmother common in fairytales, and she was determined not to repeat her own abusive family history.

Filling Her Shoes: A Memoir of an Inherited Family is the story of a woman who stepped into the shoes of another mother taken too soon, and learning along the way that she’d need to find her own stride in the journey her new family would walk together.  This is the story of how love and loss are not opposites, but cohabitants in family life and how family is the richest inheritance of all.

Why I wrote and published this story now

I wrote these stories originally just for myself.  When I was becoming Max’s mother, none of the parenting books in the bookstore offered me what I needed. Either they were about welcoming a new baby or becoming a stepparent after a divorce. Neither of these described what I faced, so  I wrote my story to gain perspective in those moments. At the time, I also felt that I didn’t want to burden my son or my husband, who had suffered such a tragic loss, with the doubts and fears that I was carrying in my role.  Now, my older son is an adult, 32 years old. He’s happy, thriving, and living independently. I no longer feel the need to protect anyone from my own emotional process of the events of our lives. I needed this time not only to gain perspective, but to know that the story has a happy ending.

  • The vulnerability of writing yourself as a character in your story.
  • The importance of making emotion sensory in scenes…the “show don’t tell”, and techniques for writing that create a vivid story.
  • Finding the universality of a very personal story so readers can connect.
  • Discovering that “truth” can be told in both fiction and memoir.
  • The power of pacing, and using light and dark stories to give readers a chance to breathe between tough scenes.
  • Discovering that even in fiction, if we’re writing emotional truth, themes of our own lives inevitably come through.
  • Though the plot and circumstances between fiction and memoir are vastly different, the themes seemed to have their own gravitational pull, tugging us back to the truth that we need to tell.

 

Bio

Betsy Graziani Fasbinder has been a writer her entire life, and began to share her work with others in her early forties. She has been a licensed therapist for 25 years. Her debut novel, Fire & Water has been honored with an honorary mention in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York Book Festivals. An excerpted chapter of Filling Her Shoes was published in Women’s Day Magazine. Betsy lives in Marin County, California with her husband, Tom, in their intermittently empty nest. They just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Their old dog, Edgar (Edgar Allan Paw) is her most faithful writing companion.

Trainer, Leadership Consultant, Marriage Family Therapist

www.betsygrazianifasbinder.com

Twitter @BetsyGFasbinder

 

Fall 2015 Telesummit | Truth and Transformation in Memoir

Telesummit stars photo-2015

Fall 2015 Telesummit

Truth and Transformation in Memoir

Friday November 6, 2015
10 am-3 pm

 

Welcome to the Fall Telesummit for the National Association of Memoir Writers!  We have a TON of great information for you writers and explorers of truth in memoir. Even if you can’t attend every session, when you sign up you get the bonuses and the free audio of the whole day! Hope to see you on the call!

–Linda Joy Myers, president of NAMW

Linda Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Bird Pricing (good until November 2) – $29
Regular Pricing (after November 2) – $49
add-to-cart_____________________________________________________________________

Memoir writers need to be jugglers. Not only are we trying to find out what our story is about, we’re trying to learn how to write our memoir so others can understand our experiences, so there is a takeaway for the reader. But first we must honor ourselves, dig deep into our hearts, minds, and memories for the stories that are our truths. This work is deeply healing, and offers hope to others when our book is published.

On this journey we search for inspiration and the tools we need to create our memoir. We need to learn about craft, the techniques of storytelling. And we have to manage our own inner voices: do I REALLY have a story to tell that others will find interesting? How can I tell that story when others may not want me to?

The heart of memoir writing is permission, passion, and time. Until you write “The End” and send your last draft off to the publisher, you need to be engaged in learning and finding the permission to encounter your story in your head and dreams over and over again and write it down. It’s a long journey, but it will feed your soul, it will change you—for the better. The inner wisdom you want to share in your story is what drives you on your search for truth.

During this day-long Telesummit, a conference by phone with our terrific presenters, we’ll talk about encountering your story through various perspectives. First, Susan Reynolds will share her research on how to get your brain to inspire you and help you write your story. Louise DeSalvo will help us look at how to discover what’s missing in our story, how to listen to what the story is wanting from us.
Learning craft is essential—it’s part of our own personal transformation as we write. Jordan Rosenfeld and Martha Alderson are going to talk about their tools for how to write deep through learning plot and scenes. Melissa Cistaro will share with us her writing and publishing journey. And a literary agent, Andy Ross, will talk about memoir from an agent’s perspective, and offer us some tips on how to touch an agent’s heart.

 

Early Bird Pricing (good until October 31) – $29
Regular Pricing (after October 31) – $49
add-to-cart

 

Reynolds, Susan_Author Photo
Fire Up Your Writing Brain
Hot Tips for Maximizing Your Writing Genius

Susan Reynolds

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

Science writer and author of Fire Up Your Writing Brain: How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer, Susan Reynolds will tell you what you need to know to maximize your brainpower while prepping to write and writing. Offering insights into neuroscience and specific, practical tips a memoirist needs, Susan will walk you through the latest research, elucidating the interplay of storytelling and neuroscience, and how these breakthroughs can help you craft more fully developed memoirs that sell. The focus will be on new, easy-to-understand information with practical applications, designed to help your brain spark creativity and craft your best work. Specific topics include:

• 5 Things you need to know about your brain and writing
• 5 ways to crystalize your intelligence around writing
• If you’re a top or bottom brain writer—and why it matters
• How to boost creativity by mining metaphors and language
• Clever ways to tap into your memory reserves and maximize emotional impact

Join us for this fascinating, groundbreaking seminar and come away with practical ways to boost your brainpower and maximize your writing genius.
Susan Reynolds has authored or edited 45+ nonfiction and fiction books. Recently, she co-authored Train Your Brain to Get Happy, Train Your Brain to Get Rich, and Meditation for Moms. She was the creator and editor of the My Hero anthology series (Teacher, Mom, Dad, Dog), and Woodstock Revisited, 50 far out, groovy, peace-inducing, flashback-inducing stories from those who were there. Ms. Reynolds also edits GRAND Magazine (an online magazine), blogs on Psychologytoday.com, and judges annual writing contests for Writer’s Digest. She is currently writing a novel based on a year she spent living in Paris.

Susan’s Amazon Author Page.
http://www.literarycottage.com
http://www.fireupyourwritingbrain.com

 

DeSalvo_Louise
How to Get at What’s Not There
Louise DeSalvo

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

Writing a memoir is a long journey—you know that, but what are the marking points on that journey? One of them is beginning your stories, setting some words down as your memories whisper in your ear. As your stories evolve, you’re searching for the threads of truth that you want to write about, and you are searching for your voice—an ineffable quality that is hard to define. In writing memoir, it takes a long time to figure out what the story is really about and how to tell it. The key to finding out what your story is trying to become is right on the page if we know how to look for it. Figuring out what’s not yet there and determining how to put that on the page is guaranteed to transform your work.

As a result of our conversation, we will:

• Talk about how Louise has crafted her memoirs, and how she has lost and found the threads of her story
• Learn how to identify the “hole” in our narratives
• Discover how reflecting upon what’s not yet there will deepen your work
• Discuss techniques to incorporate our new found insights into your work
• How challenges in writing your memoir can strengthen your ability to keep going and finish your book

Louise DeSalvo is the Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar for Literature and Creative Writing at Hunter College where she teaches memoir to undergraduates. She has published five memoirs, among them, the award-winning Vertigo and two
books about the writing process, Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives and, most recently, The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity. She has been studying and writing
about the writing process of famous writers for forty years. Her new book Chasing Ghosts: A Memoir of a Father, Gone to War was released Oct. 1.
Website:  www.writingalife.wordpress.com

JordLeaning crop

Digging Deep into Plot and Scene to Write a Great Memoir
Jordan Rosenfeld and Martha Alderson

12 pm PST  1 pm MST  2 pm CST  3 pm EST

To write a successful and powerful memoir, you need to build your craft skills. Some writers don’t know that learning craft helps to create a more powerful voice and helps you the writer to reveal your story in a deeper way. This presentation by two talented and powerful authors and teachers, Jordan Rosenfeld and Martha Alderson, you will dig deeper into your story and expand your skills. Remember, finding your truth happens through the process of writing. The better you can write your scenes and develop your plot, the more truth you can tell that will transform your life and resonate with your readers.

Based on the work of Martha and Jordan’s new book, Writing Deep Scenes, you’ll learn
• Powerful scene construction
• What the different scene types are—for example epiphany, contemplative, suspense
• How to find a plot for your memoir that resonates with readers and keeps them reading
• And how to think about creating scenes and plot for a true story

Martha Alderson is the bestselling author of The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master where she first introduced the Universal Story to transform writers’ creative lives and teach them about plot. The Plot Whisperer Work book: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories and The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing quickly followed. Her most recent book is Writing Deep Scenes: Plotting Your Story Through Action, Emotion & Theme with Jordan Rosenfeld. Writing Blockbuster Plots: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Plot, Structure & Scene is due out 3/16. Secrets of Personal Transformation: A Spiritual Guide comes next.
Martha is currently filming 2 new video programs: The 27-Step Tutorial: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? and A Spiritual Guide for Writers: Secrets of Personal Transformation. She and Jordan co-lead writing and renewal retreats: www.writerpath.com. Visit her website: http://marthaalderson.com

Jordan is author of four writing guides, most recently Writing Deep Scenes and A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, and three novels, most recently Women in Red. Her essays & articles have appeared in the New York Times, Ozy, The Rumpus, Salon.com, the Washington Post and many more.

Melissa Cistaro-photo

Melissa Cistaro

On Memoir: Putting the Pieces Together

1 pm PST  2 pm MST  3 pm CST  4 pm EST

We all know it takes a long time to write a memoir, and for some, it takes more than a decade to come to terms with what happened in “real life” and how to find the arc of the story. Melissa Cistaro, author of Pieces of My Mother, will talk about what sustained her through the twelve years of working on her memoir — and the publishing experience that made it all worth it.

The discussion will include:

• Sticking with the story you need to tell.
• Finding the arc of forgiveness.
• The power of compassion in memoir.
• The single sentence that kept me writing through the years.
• Why I started my memoir as fiction.
• Struggling with structure.
• How motherhood made me a writer.
• Don’t fall in love with your title . . . Stories from the publishing world.
• The tale of finding that one sparkling “yes” from a publisher.
• What I’ve learned from working in a bookstore.
Bio

Melissa Cistaro is the author of the recent memoir PIECES OF MY MOTHER. Her essays, interviews, and work have appeared in The New Ohio Review, Brevity, The Huffington Post, Bookish, Good Housekeeping and the anthologies Love & Profanity and Cherished. She works as a bookseller and event coordinator at Book Passage, the esteemed independent bookstore in Northern California. Melissa graduated with honors from UCLA and followed her literary pursuits through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and the Tin House Writer’s Workshop in Portland. Between the years of raising her children, writing, bookselling, teaching horseback riding, and curating a business in equestrian antiques, Melissa completed her first memoir.

 

Andy Ross PHOTO
An Agent’s Perspective on Writing Memoir
Andy Ross

2 pm PST  3 pm MST  4 pm CST  5 pm EST

As all of you know, an agent comes into the picture of writing your memoir at the later stage of your journey. The agent’s job is to find books that publishers will buy, but there is so much more that an agent does. Most agents get involved with the writing and creative process, and Andy Ross is one of them. Andy will talk to us about what he is looking for, how he knows he has a gripping story, and other secrets of an agent’s discerning choice.

You will learn:
• What agents look for in a manuscript submission
• How to put on your professional hat when talking to agents
• Secrets of a good pitch
• What makes a great story
• The techniques that most memoir writers need to develop

Andy Ross is a literary agent in Oakland. Prior to becoming an agent he was the owner of the legendary Cody’s Books in Berkeley for 30 years. Andy represents books in a wide range of non-fiction genres including: memoir, narrative non-fiction, science, journalism, history, popular culture, memoir, and current events . He also represents literary, commercial, historical, crime, upmarket women’s fiction, and YA fiction. Authors Andy represents include: Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Anjanette Delgado, Elisa Kleven, Tawni Waters, Randall Platt, Mary Jo McConahay, Gerald Nachman, Michael Parenti, Paul Krassner, Milton Viorst, and Michele Anna Jordan.
You can read more about Andy at his website at www.andyrossagency.com and on his popular blog “Ask the Agent” at www.andyrossagency.wordpress.com

Join now to get special bonuses:

Finding an Agent, Query Letters, and Book Proposals by Andy Ross, literary agent A 40 page book written in Andy’s entertaining style, full of information.

Special Scene Checklist by Jordan Rosenfeld–from her conference handouts

How Wild Became a Bestseller–Audio and PDF from a class taught by Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Myers

 

Early Bird Pricing (good until October 31) – $29
Regular Pricing (after October 31) – $49
add-to-cart

Memoir Challenge #1–Wrestling the Truth in Your Memoir

Roundtable Discussion
October 8, 2015
4 PM PDT 5 PM MDT 6 PM CDT 7 PM EDT
Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter in conversation with Linda Joy Myers

As memoir writers, we approach the page with a powerful story to tell, one that won’t let us go. We start out great, writing, journaling, dreaming and thinking about our story, but then the energy starts to slow down. We look for reasons not to write, we stumble over our words. A voice inside our head says, “Don’t say that. You can’t tell people THAT!” The silencing and freak out begins.
The wrestling match starts as we write the truths that have been hidden for so long, and as we pull back either in shame or feeling that we will be judged by our family and friends.

Amy FerrisOur guests at this week’s Roundtable discussion know all about this. Amy Ferris, author of Marrying George Clooney, writes every day about being brave and writing and saying your truth on her Facebook page to help inspire writers and—well, just everyone. But it wasn’t easy for her to write her book about menopause, her mother, and many personal thoughts and feelings. Hollye Dexter’s book Fire Season is about losing everything in a fire that destroyed her house and nearly killed her and her family. They had to jump out windows to escape. But the fire that doesn’t kill you will still burn your psyche for years to come. Her story is about how the fire destroyed more than material possessions, how it challenged the foundations of her being, affecting relationships, her marriage, and her sense of self.

In writing my new memoir, I’ve found that it’s one thing to write honestly about childhood, and anHollye new headshotother to write about being an adult, and making the choices I did. Writing a memoir exposes you down to your roots, and yet, the genre demands that we do our best to dig all the way down to write an authentic story that is our truth.

Please join us for a deep and inspiring discussion about truth with Amy and Hollye. It will give you food for thought about your own story and how to wrestle with your truths.

 

We will talk about:

  • Techniques that have helped these authors dig into their truths.
  • The problem with shame and how to work through it.
  • How worries about family criticism gets in the way–and how to write anyway.
  • Digging deep to find our own real truths.
  • How writing our deepest truths changes our lives.

Listen to the recording here


=Hollye Dexter is author of the memoir Fire Season (She Writes Press, 2015) and co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom (Seal Press). An NIEA finalist for best memoir, FIRE SEASON was chosen by First For Women Magazine as one of their six top summer reads, and was excerpted by Reader’s Digest for their Thanksgiving issue. Hollye’s essays and articles about women’s issues, activism and parenting have been published in anthologies as well as in Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change, Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, Writer’s Digest and more. In 2003, she founded the award-winning nonprofit Art and Soul, running arts workshops for teenagers in the foster care system. She currently teaches writing workshops and works as an activist for gun violence prevention in L.A., where she lives with her husband and a houseful of kids and pets. www.hollyedexter.net 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.

Sign up to listen in to the call or receive the recording.

Spring Memoir Workshop: Find Your Voice, Write Your Truth with Linda Joy Myers

linda-joy-myersSpring Memoir workshop dates

April 9, 16, 23, 30

May 7, 14, 21

June 4, 11

Time: 3 PM PST/6 PM EST

If you are writing a memoir you know what it takes to bring your history and the story of your life to the page. You have to excavate not only what happened, but who you were to reveal your inner truths. A memoir is a journey of meaning and understanding, woven together with facts, reflections, and a story that’s true, a story you have lived.

Of course, your story touches on the lives of others, and there’s the rub. The challenge is to find your own story even though woven in with all the other stories of family, friends, and community, and to be able to tell it fully, to claim your truths.

You have to wrestle with the voice that brings your story to life, the voice that reveals the personal and the universal truths that your readers will need to know. The more personal and detailed your story is, the more it will contain universal truths.

In this 9-week workshop, you will find the stories that you need to write by creating a “turning point list” of significant moments, locate them on a timeline, and write these moments that shaped you, moments that form the spine of the theme of your memoir during the class.

The workshop is small, 4-6 people, which allows intimate sharing during the teleclass that meets once a week. You send your work out to the group, but the group is private and your writing is held with confidentiality. The feedback offers what is working in your story, and supports you with the emotional content as well and giving feedback for how you can develop your story and move forward to the later stages of writing your book.

Vignettes and shorter works are welcome too. You don’t have to be writing a book to join this class. The focus is to get you writing and to support you on your journey. Many people who write a memoir find it transformational, and we welcome discussions about your inner life as you explore it through your memoir. My background as a therapist helps the group find insights to the stories that emerge, and I always approach the writing and the writer with compassion and encouragement to explore the stories that have never been told. We all know that the dreaded “inner critic” can get in the way! We work with how the inner critic stops you and we help you move forward.

To summarize: in this workshop you will
• Find the stories that have meaning to you
• Learn to write the scenes that bring your story to life
• Discover the fiction tools that are the secret to great story writing
• Receive the support and accountability to get at least one story a week written
• Find out how to weave narration, dialogue, and scenes to create a dynamic story
• Learn how to manage your inner critic
And much more

Please contact Linda Joy Myers if you are interested before making payment.


Non-Member Pricing – $420

Click here to purchase

If you are a member log in and then come back to this page to get a special discount.

Your Truth, My Truth—Whose Truth Is It in Your Memoir?

Hollye new headshot

NAMW Member Teleseminar with Hollye Dexter

April 24, 2015
11 AM PDT 12 PM MDT 1 PM CDT 2 PM EDT

To listen to the recording of this call join today.

Our story is the only thing of true value that we own, the one thing that can’t be taken from us. And yet, so many of us struggle with whether or not we have the right to tell it. We are silenced by the fear of upsetting others in telling our truth, but here’s the bottom line: You own the rights to your life story. No one else can write your story like you can, no one knows it like you do. Let’s talk about how to do that, to write your story with clarity and compassion for all characters, including yourself.
What you will learn in this presentation:
• How to have the confidence to write through shame and painful experiences
• The find the ability to write with compassion, creating rich and full characters.
• You’ll learn tools to shake off the inner critic who wants to silence you
• You’ll find tips on how to keep writing, when fear (writer’s block) threatens to stop you

The Fire Season

Hollye Dexter is author of the memoir Fire Season (She Writes Press, 2015) and co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom (Seal Press)– praised by bestselling author Gloria Feldt (former CEO of Planned Parenthood) as “…a brilliant book that just might change your life.” Her essays and articles about women’s issues, activism and parenting have been published in anthologies as well as in Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change, Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire and more. In 2003, she founded the award-winning nonprofit Art and Soul, running arts workshops for teenagers in the foster care system. She currently teaches writing workshops and works as an activist for gun violence prevention in L.A., where she lives with her husband and a houseful of kids and pets.

 

In order to participate in our monthly teleseminars, you must be a NAMW member.  You can learn more about NAMW membership by clicking here

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