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Memoir

A Writer Never Averts Her Eyes: On Killing My Father

BY LAURA PRITCHETT The greatest truth about the greatest writing, if you ask me, is this: The author never, ever averts her eyes. Easier said than done, of course, and I’ve not … Read more

How to Write a Reader-Friendly Essay

Powerful, surprising, and fascinating personal essays are also “reader-friendly essays” that keep the reader squarely in focus. So how do you go about writing one? In this excerpt from Crafting the Personal … Read more

When Is Lying in Memoir Acceptable? 3 Key Issues

Today’s guest post is from Tracy Seeley, author of My Ruby Slippers. Visit her site, or find out more about her book. – They crop up like weeds in the literary garden, … Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Rachel Friedman

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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Rachel Friedman.

Rachel Friedman is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure (Bantam; 2011). She teaches literature at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Read more

Back to Basics: Writing & Publishing Memoir

It can be very difficult to sell a memoir when you’re not famous. Without a celebrity’s fan base, or a loyal and captive audience, then you need to write like a master, … Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Glen Retief

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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Glen Retief.

Glen Retief is the author of The Jack Bank, a memoir focusing on his experiences of violent whites-only hazing rituals under apartheid. Kirkus Reviews called it “Visceral and emotionally complex—an impressive first book.”. Read more

How I Found My Agent: Susan Pohlman

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

Susan Pohlman is author of the travel memoir Halfway to Each Other: How a Year In Italy Brought Our Family Home, winner of the relationships category in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Good Housekeeping called the book “a remarkable story.” Susan is also the writer of three award-winning short films, and a magazine freelancer. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Stacy Pershall

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

Stacy Pershall, holds a MFA degree in electronic art from the University of Cincinnati. Her memoir, Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl (2011; Norton) was chosen for the Barnes and Noble spring 2011 Discover Great New Writers program. Booklist called the memoir an “electrifying account … one whirlwind ride.” Read more

Creating Memoir That’s Bigger Than Me, Me, Me

Today’s guest post is from Tracy Seeley, author of My Ruby Slippers. Visit her site, or find out more about her book. – Memoir tells stories from our own lives. It says, … Read more

The Best Education for Writing Memoir

Today’s post is from regular guest and favorite, Darrelyn Saloom. Follow her on Twitter, or read her previous guest posts. Pictured above: Darrelyn’s mother in 1969 as she works her way to … Read more

Excellent Online Learning Opportunities (Free + Paid)

There are so many interesting opportunities coming up for online education that I wanted to take a moment to round them up! FREE: The Evolution of Self-Publishing webcast, brought to you by … Read more

Book Marketing For 21st-Century Authors

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Almost three years after the deal got made with Crown Publishing Group, my travel memoir about my time helping to start a radio station in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has hit the shelves. Hooray! But there’s little time to celebrate, and there hasn’t been much downtime for months—even though the actual book was complete well over a year ago.

Guest column by Lisa Napoli, author of the memoir, Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth (Feb. 2011, Crown). Publishers Weekly said of the book: “Napoli’s adventures … will delight readers.” Read more

How Writing About Loss Helps You Heal

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Just a few days before my 27th birthday, she had a severe heart attack. I returned to Ohio, never imagining I’d remain there for over a year—Mom spending that entire time in one hospital or another, battling congestive heart failure, stomach paralysis, ventilator dependency, and lung cancer (the thing that would ultimately claim her life). I didn’t write during those months. I didn’t have any time. I was too tired. There was too much other stuff to think about.

Guest column by Sean Manning, author of The Things That Need Doing (Dec. 2010, Broadway), a memoir that Publishers Weekly called “a universal story … tremendously moving.” Read more

Writing Memoir: Art vs. Confessional

Continuing with the theme of memoir this week, Susan Cushman (pictured above) is today’s guest on NO RULES. Like Darrelyn Saloom, Susan was deeply impacted by the reading of Robert Goolrick at … Read more

3 Important Privacy Issues in Memoir

Today’s guest post is from author and professor Tracy Seeley. Her memoir, My Ruby Slippers, will soon be available from University of Nebraska Press. Visit her blog, or pre-order the book from … Read more

A Feast of Days (Part 4): The Last Chapter

Today’s guest post is by emerging writer Darrelyn Saloom, who recently attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference, and is offering up a 4-part narrative on the experience. Darrelyn is a regular … Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Catherine Gildiner

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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Catherine Gildiner.

Catherine Gildiner has written two memoirs. Her latest, After the Falls (Nov. 2010, Knopf) is about growing up in the 1960s. Her acclaimed first memoir, Too Close to the Falls, followed her, ages 4-13 in small-town America. Read more

Agent Michael Larsen On: 4 Reasons You May Want to Transform That Memoir Into a Novel

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If you’re writing a memoir (a me-moir to the cynical), you may wonder whether it would be better to fictionalize elements and release your story as a novel. What reasons might there be for making that decision?
1. Legal Reasons
Publishers are extremely wary about anything that might cause litigation. If you’re going to include unflattering things about living people, they may sue.
2. Personal Reasons
Fictionalizing your past may make it easier to write about. A memoir is constrained by the truth. Writing fiction liberates you to alter your experience as you wish. Read more

How to Write Your Life Story or Memoir (and Get Your Work Critiqued!)

If you’re interested in writing life stories or a memoir, we have a special webinar guest coming up. Linda Joy Myers is the president of the National Association of Memoir Writers, and … Read more

Agent Jon Sternfeld On: 5 Elements of Interesting Narrative Nonfiction (and Memoirs)

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Narrative nonfiction is a difficult and crowded market. Here are some thoughts about distinguishing your work from the pack.

1. Arcs: Like a strong novel, make sure the story and the main character have Narrative Arcs—that is each needs to go somewhere. Finding the arc is key or else the story is a jumble of disjointed vignettes that lead nowhere. Evolution of character and movement of the story make a true story as engaging to read as a novel.

2. Inverse Rule for Nonfiction: The less well known the subject/story, the more blow people out of the water amazing the story needs to be. Read more

Hearing Voices: 6 Steps I Used for Creating an Anthology

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1. Find A Unique Theme
After two positive experiences of contributing to anthologies about education, I was ready to work on my own. But what voice needed to be heard and hadn’t been heard before? A life-changing experience answered these questions when my son was deployed to war. The seldom-heard voices of mothers sending their sons and daughters to war needed to be heard. This Chorus would narrate their stories telling of the sacrifice our children make every day.

2. Set Goals For Your Anthology
My son made it home, defying death several times. I could breathe again. I wanted this to be a book where military mothers could all breathe a little easier, narrating our stories and sharing our burdens. Read more

How to Write a Travel Memoir

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A travel memoir is a travel writing genre all its own. It is not a guidebook, trip diary or marketing piece for the Sunday paper. Rather, it is a delicate mixture of recollection and reflection that reveals how a journey, or a series of journeys, transformed the writer.

Guest column by Susan Pohlman, author of the travel memoir Halfway to Each Other: How a Year In Italy Brought Our Family Home. Good Housekeeping called the book “a remarkable story.” Read more

Your Self-Help Book Should Not Be a Thinly Disguised Memoir

If you’re writing a memoir, and it’s your very first attempt at writing (or writing seriously for publication), odds are good that you won’t yet be skillful enough to pass muster with … Read more

How I Got My Agent: Tom McAllister

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

Tom McAllister is the author of Bury Me in My Jersey: A Memoir of My Father, Football, and Philly, which was released by Villard in May 2010. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is currently a lecturer in the English Department at Temple University. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Eve Brown-Waite

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

Eve Brown-Waite is the author of First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life, (2009, Broadway Books) available in paperback on April 14, 2010. Read more

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