Secrets of Great Storytelling (Particularly for Memoirists)

Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know how strongly I
recommend Ira Glass as a resource on learning how to storytell. Even
though his medium is radio, the same concepts apply to written stories
as well, particularly personal stories.

I recently discovered Ira's Manifesto over at Transom. As I've said before: It has the ability to change your stories overnight.

Two nuggets to get you interested:

Some
stories definitely aren't worth pursuing. These are stories where
everything reminds you too much of other stories you've already heard,
and stories where there's no sympathetic character (it's hard for the
story to carry much feeling if there's no one in the story to relate
to), and stories where everything kind of works out as you'd sort of
expect. Surprise is important. …

And yes, there are ways to get
a story to work. Often this means you have to think about what the
heart of the story is about, and figure out how to make that more
present. This can involve adding moments and scenes that build up the
central conflict (and pruning away the ones that don't). It can mean
making explicit what the story means, stating more directly what the
point of the whole thing is. More about that below.

Another reason to click-thru: The great Q&A session that follows each part of the manifesto. Rewarding.

Writing Multiple Timelines and Points of View

Writing Multiple Timelines and Points of View

YA author Natalie Lund gives her top reasons why writers who might be afraid to play with multiple timelines and/or points of view should jump in feet first.

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Author Alexander Weinstein discusses how he came to select the theme of his new short story collection, Universal Love, and what it was like to see those themes reflected in the real world.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank me poem.

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

Author Samantha Downing discusses the techniques she used when writing her literary novel He Started It, which focuses on family secrets, old grudges, and lots of scores to settle.

W.A. Winter: On the Joys of Writing Crime Fiction

W.A. Winter: On the Joys of Writing Crime Fiction

Crime and suspense author W.A. Winter discusses why he decided on fiction over true crime for his latest novel, The Secret Lives of Dentists, and how writing this book brought him joy.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a Love and/or Anti-Love poem.

Stationery vs. Stationary (Grammar Rules)

Stationary vs. Stationery (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of stationary and stationery on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Erik Larson Quote

Liminal Spaces: A Profile of Erik Larson

WD gives a peek at the daily routine of Erik Larson and the writing process behind his bestselling narrative nonfiction in this Nov/Dec 2020 profile by Zachary Petit.