Every person has a story to tell, but few beginners know how to uncover their story's narrative potential. And despite a growing interest among students and creative writers, few guides to the genre of memoirs and creative nonfiction highlight compelling storytelling strategies. Addressing this gap, authors Lynn C. Miller and Lisa Lenard-Cook provide a compact, accessible guide to memoir writing that shows how an aspiring memoir writer can use storytelling tools and tactics borrowed from fiction to weave personal experiences into the shape of a story.
Find Your Story, Write Your Memoir offers an overview of the building blocks of memoir writing. Individual chapters focus on key issues and challenges, such as the balance between the remembering narrator and the experiencing narrator, the capacity to honor the subjective voice, the occasion of telling (why does this narrator tell this story now?), creating an organically functional structure for a particular story, and taking the next steps with a written memoir. Drawing on their combined years of experience teaching memoir writing, authoring works of fiction and nonfiction, and working in autobiographical performance, Miller and Lenard-Cook provide a practical guide whose core philosophy is motivated by a key word: story.
©2013 Lynn C. Miller and Lisa Lenard-Cook (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks
"A remarkably compact, efficient, complete, and helpful guide to writing memoirs. I plan to use it in my own teaching." (Rachel Hadas, author of Strange Relation: A Memoir of Marriage, Dementia, and Poetry)
"Find Your Story, Write Your Memoir is original, taking its standpoint on memoir writing from the craft of fiction, and integrating research about memory, narrative theory, and concepts important to performance studies." (Craig Gingrich-Philbrook, author of Loss: Stories about the End of Things)
If you're writing your memoir, or summoning the courage to begin, hurry to get this book. And that's what this excellent book does for anyone interested in writing about their own experience. The writing is clear and entertaining, a joy to read. But better still, it provides a path with guideposts for thinking about memoir writing, with pauses for practice in shaded boxes and with shining examples of published memoirs woven throughout: Didion, Doty, Sexton, Dillard, Oates, Goldberg, Walls, and others.
"Find Your Story, Write Your Memoir" will ease your struggle with questions such as Should I write about my life? or How can I organize the chaotic jumble of my experience? or What should I include or leave out? or How will others react to my revelations? or How can I make my writing interesting? Drawing on the tools of fiction and creative nonfiction, it will help you identify and apply techniques for building a successful memoir: the "occasion of the telling," your unique narrator voice, the creation of scene, the necessary details. Although I am an experienced writer, this book has given me valuable new insights and has emboldened me to continue my own memoir writing along the path these authors have so intelligently and elegantly laid out before me. Particularly for a first time memoirist, this book has a lot of good advice. For me, the best part was the structure of building a scene - from catalyst to climax and denoument. And the laying out of 5 or 6 different ways to structure a memoir. Although I' ve read a number of writing books, both of these were new to me, and immediately useful. The book also has a great bibliography (actually two) of memoirs and books about memoir - that's worth the price of admission. Less satisfying for me were the other chapters on craft, much of it seemed like watered down advice from many other writing books. Overall, well done, well worth the time and money.
The information provided in this book--at least in all that I could stand to listen to--is great. However, the narration is TERRIBLE! It's worse than listening to a default phone recording over and over. With the right narrator, this would be an excellent resource for memoir writing, but it makes me have nightmares. Perhaps I'll place it under my pillow and let it play all night while I pretend I'm in a 'brave new world." My advice? Purchase the ebook edition.
I've read several books on "how to write your memoire", and most were fluffy and superficial. This book however has DEPTH! It makes you think about the WHY or the "Occasion for the Telling" and the HOW, your two main characters - your "experiencing self" (in the past) and your "remembering self" (your current you). I think I am listening to this book for the 4th time now and still getting lots of ideas and angles out of it. Thanks to the two authors for pouring your decades of in-depth experience into it!
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