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Memoir Writing & Memoir Examples

Memoir writing takes guts. It’s revealing and personal – sometimes even painful to put on the page. Here you’ll find guidelines and memoir examples to ensure your story is something others will want to read. Learn how to craft it and how to get it sold. For more resources, click How to Write a Memoir.

From Idea to Page in 4 Simple Steps

Nothing is more exciting than the promise of a story in your head, but in order to get it on the page you need to figure out exactly what you need to do to make it work. Here are 4 steps to help you build the framework of your story.

by N.M. Kelby
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Winners Announced: "Dear Lucky Agent" – Memoir and Narrative Nonfiction

A huge thank you to all 150 or so people who entered in my first “Dear Lucky Agent” contest. Agent Katharine Sands of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency looked through all … Read more

Agent Advice: Laney Katz Becker of Markson Thoma Literary Agency

becker

“Agent Advice” (this installment featuring agent Laney Katz Becker of Markson Thoma Literary Agency) is a series of quick interviews with literary agents and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their … Read more

''Dear Lucky Agent'' Contest: Memoir and Narrative Nonfiction

Note from Chuck: It’s Feb. 1, 2010, which means this contestis now closed. Thank you for entering. Winners should be announced within 7 days or so.Meanwhile, our next contest should startwithin a … Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Alexis Grant

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This is a new 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 Alexis Grant.

Alexis Grant is a journalist writing her first book, a travel memoir about backpacking solo through Africa. Read more

Best of the Quest: One Author’s Tale of How His Memoir of Movie-watching Came to Be

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When the “Eureka!” moment happened I was supposed to be concentrating on a lot of other things: getting an American agent interested in my screenplays; working as a full-time film critic and doing freelance on the side to help pay the rent; being a good partner to Clare and a dad to our 14-month-old daughter Ava. But once I saw an egregious little tween comedy called Material Girls and then discovered it was at that very moment the user-voted “worst movie ever” on the Internet Movie Database, the question wouldn’t let me be: What really was the worst movie ever made?

Michael Adams is a magazine contributor to publications such as Empire and Rolling Stone. And, for a brief shining moment, he was co-host of The Movie Show. Read more

Rescuing Your Story From Cliche

In this excerpt from 179 Ways to Save a Novel, author Peter Selgin discusses ways to defeat the writer’s sworn enemy: the cliche.  Read more

Tips for Writing and Selling the Book-Length Memoir (Part 2 of 2)

gilsdorf

“Is my life fascinating enough?” That’s the question raised today in a special guest column by journalist and memoir writer Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks. (This column is Part 2 of 2. See Part 1 here.) If you’re interested in writing life stories and memoir, check out Ethan’s Boston-based, eight-week intensive memoir class (next class begins Jan 26, 2010). Read more

Tips for Writing and Selling the Book-Length Memoir (Part 1 of 2)

gilsdorf

“Is my life fascinating enough?” That’s the question raised today in a special guest column by journalist and memoir writer Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks. (This column is Part 1 of 2. See Part II here.) If you’re interested in writing life stories and memoir, check out Ethan’s Boston-based, eight-week intensive memoir class (next class begins Jan 26, 2010). Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Jody M. Roy

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This is a new 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 Jody M. Roy.

Jody M. Roy, Ph.D., serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere. One of her books include Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story. Read more

Successful Queries: Agent Mollie Glick and ‘Queen of the Road’

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This new series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked.

The 21st installment in this series is with agent Mollie Glick (Foundry Literary + Media) and her author, Doreen Orion, for her book, Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own. Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Sunil Robert

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This is a new 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 Sunil Robert.

Sunil Robert is the author of I Will Survive: Comeback Stories of a Corporate Warrior. Read more

Write Personal Without Hurting Your Relationships

Concerned that friends and family will be upset by what you write about them (even if it’s in the context of your life)? These tips gleaned from top essayists may keep you from ending up in a sticky situation with your writing.

by Kim Schworm Acosta
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Audrey Niffenegger Explains How To Create a Good Story

How do you follow up a smash hit like The Time Traveler’s Wife? For artist and author Audrey Niffenegger, it all comes down to embracing the freedom to create—on your own terms.

by Jessica Strawser

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Publishing 101: What You Need to Know

Here’s your step-by-step guide to the publishing process–how it works, why you need to know and how you can play an influential role in your book’s success.

by Jerry D. Simmons
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Anne Tyler’s Tips on Writing Strong (yet Flawed) Characters

With a body of work spanning five decades, a Pulitzer Prize and membership in the Academy of Arts and Letters, Anne Tyler is a testament to the best kind of longevity—and the purity of the written word.

by Jessica Strawser
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How to Weave in Backstory to Reveal Character

Creating characters’ backstories before you start writing is crucial because you’ll want to determine each one’s past experiences and the repercussions these experiences will have on your story before you begin. Here’s a close look at the different ways you can introduce backstory.

by Rachel Ballon
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Should You Write a Memoir? (The Memoirist’s Dilemma)

Memoir author Matt Rothschild says there are issues you need to consider before telling your story.

By Matt Rothschild Read more

How to Build a Marketing Platform

Here are 10 simple steps that will take your visibility from zero to standout in a short time, while also giving you ample opportunities to flex your expertise, carve out your niche topic and connect with your audience.

by Christina Katz

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A Writer’s Guide to Social Networking

Find out how hopping on the social networking bandwagon can actually help you stand out to agents, editors and potential readers.

by the Writer’s Digest staff
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5 Common Flaws in Memoir Projects

Most everyone knows how difficult it can be to sell a memoir when you’re not famous (or infamous). I often advise writers that if you don’t have a celebrity-like fan base, or … Read more

11 Plot Pitfalls – And How to Rescue Your Story From Them

We’ve all been there: basking in the glow of a finished manuscript, only to read it over and realize something is wrong with the plot. Finding ourselves unable to identify the problem only makes matters worse. But take heart! Here are some common plot gaffes and sensible ways to revise without starting over.

by Laura Whitcomb

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The Anatomy of a Writer’s Website

Whether you build it yourself or hire a designer, your website can do more than bring you into the 21st century—it can be an invaluable part of your marketing arsenal.

by Linda Formichelli Read more

The WD Interview:
Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende found a release for her grief in the form of a memoir written to her departed daughter.

by Jordan E. Rosenfeld
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Opening Scenes: An Overview

Read Chapter 2, Opening Scenes: An Overview from Hooked Read more

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