Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thankful Thursday: The Memoir Project


The cliché advice I received while living the events of my memoir — "Take it one day at a time" — is also part of my revision strategy. Progress is slow, but I'm taking it one page at a time. 

Continuing with a revision theme this month, I'm sharing a resource for memoirs. I finished my "vomit draft" this year after reading The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life by Marion Roach Smith.

On The Memoir Project Blog, Marion shares News You can Use with examples of short memoir — an op-ed or personal essay. She encourages you to read and study the links. Some links from her site:
My recent favorite The Power Of Memoir. Listen In. This post includes a link to a one-minute radio essay from Dr. G. Thomas Couser "Memoir and Social Change." I like this one, because I saw fiction writers discourage another writer from writing a memoir in an online writer's group discussion. Citing the book-buying market and the writer's first-time status, she was encouraged to write her story as fiction. 

I'm all for being realistic. However, the discussion made me wonder how many books would be published, if we all listened to "the market isn't buying ..." or "no one wants a book from a first-time author" advice? Fiction writers certainly don't. First-time novelists are published. Picture book writers don't. First-time picture book writers are published. Memoir writers don't. First-time memoirists are published. If we all followed this advice, we would only have books from celebrities like Snooki or true-crimes from the headlines memoirs.

I haven't looked back at the writer group's discussion, but I shared that I am writing a memoir using many fiction techniques to craft my story. However, I pointed out — "It's a true story and that's how I'm writing it." Plus, I shared Marion's book and blog as a resource. 


Thanks to Susan Oloier for giving me Kreative Blogger Award. She's a busy writer with a blog, with a collection of essays about growing up in the 1980s My Life as a Misfit and with the recent release of her novel Fractured about miscarriage and marriage. She also had an essay published in February on The Daily Beast about her son Zane, who has Trisomy 18.

I should also say thanks for letting me vent about the "first-time" part. Have you been on any writer rants this week?

28 comments:

  1. Hey Stacy,

    That wasn't a rant - that was a great post and as someone who's co-writing a memoir, thanks for passing on such wonderful tips and links :)

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  2. Rant? Which one? lol I have gone off on Zuckerberg of FB fame, gamers who waste my time asking me to play their silly games, and the Manila police. Yeah, I've been busy. lol

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  3. I was having a conversation with one of my writer friends yesterday, about how many of the old rules don't always apply. It's good to know them, so we have an understanding of the publishing business. But many successful writers have stories about how they made their own rules.

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    1. Angie, True. I think it's important to be realistic, but also important to try.

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  4. Congrats on the award Ms. Jensen! I will check out some of the links! :)

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  5. Congrats on the award and good luck with your memoir. You are right - we wouldn't get anywhere if we listened to reason :) Yes, the odds are against us, but as I read somewhere recently, the odds are for the group, not the individual, and clearly people get published in all areas... but not if they don't try! So keep up the good work! :)

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    1. Susanna, Yes, we all need to try! Thanks.

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  6. I think that's terrible, that a group would discourage a writer from writing a memoir. I would never do that! Who cares what the market is buying? That could change any day, any week. I say, write what you want to write. Thanks for the tip on Marion's book.

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    1. Karen, You know how groups work. Only a few people responded, but you know how that can be to the person asking the question. It feels like that's the only answer. I agree that the market changes a lot.

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  7. Congrats on the award and super info for memoir writers. Have a great day!

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  8. Congrats on your award, and thanks for the info about memoir writing. It'll be helpful as I work on my own memoir. :)

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    1. Dana, The book was very helpful to me and I've read several memoir craft books.

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  9. I downloaded this sample the other day when you posted a FB link, Stacy. I am definitely buying this book! I have my memoir written, but could use some additional direction.
    Honestly, I love reading memoirs above anything else.
    Thanks for the shout-out!

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    1. Susan, Memoirs are one of my favorites too.

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  10. Great post, Stacy. I had people trying to tell me to write my story as memoir instead of fiction. I'm so glad I trusted my gut. I'm thankful for posts like these!

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  11. congrats on your award! i say follow your guts when it comes to writing:)
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  12. Good for you for sticking to your plans. Publication is only one of many reasons to write a memoir. Your story needs to be told, so tell it!

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    1. Julie, Publication would be nice for any of my work. Nose to grindstone.

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  13. Hi Stacy! Thanks for sharing the information about The Memoir Project. Sounds interesting.

    CONGRATS on the award!

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  14. I think The Memoir Project is an excellent resource for all writers, not just those writing memoir. As for writer rants, mine are mostly about me and my neverending revisions.

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    1. Patricia, Your Silliness post on revisions sadly hit close to home for me this week. :)

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