Revision’s Biggest Hurdle

Here’s a common scenario with intermediate creative nonfiction writers:  They’ve gotten over the initial hurdles to writing true stories—fear of what others will think, mistrust of their memories, difficulties establishing the writing habit—and they’ve experienced the rush of elation that comes with drafting.  They may have even dabbled in revision and overcome their resistance to …

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Chronology

I’ve recently become a great fan of chronology, the true representation of the order of events.   Stories, according to E.M. Forster, are narratives of events arranged in their time sequence, with the great advantage of making the audience want to know what happens next.   Beginning, middle, end:   the formula is as old …

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Inherent Wholeness

Underneath the act of writing memoir is an implicit belief:   A wholeness exists among the fractured memories of a life.   If we didn’t believe this, it’s unlikely any memoirist would take on the endeavor.   In fact, I suspect many people write memoir because they long for a complete, unified perspective on their …

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Book-Length Thoughts

Over the course of years of working on my own writing and coaching others, I’ve come to recognize a stumbling place in the process of writing a book.   There comes a moment, usually around the completion of a first full draft, when the project seems utterly overwhelming.   A new form of writer’s block …

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Why is memoir hot?

I was asked this question in class last night, and a lively discussion ensued.   There are many reasons memoir is flying off the shelves right now–Americans’ voyeuristic obsessions, our thrill at the democratization of the personal narrative (you don’t have to be a president or have climbed Mount Everest to write about your life), …

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