Creative Writing Workshop: Using Memoir as the Vehicle

Sunday, March 17, 9 am to 11 am
Gallery 621
621 First Street
Benecia, CA 94510
Keep it exciting and fun!

Collaging Chapters into a Book

When you write your memoir you can do it by memory and then piece the short pieces together adding transitions between the pieces or chapters.  An important thing to remember is that each piece must start with a compelling sentence that leads the reader into the action right away. It’s like a scene in a movie. If you can see it, you are showing us and not telling us.  Save the telling for connections between scenes. So, start with action, connect with a bit of narrative, more action (scene) and when ready end with a question, a mystery, a conclusion left partly unknown or sometimes with a conclusion. Continue reading “Collaging Chapters into a Book” »

Starting to Outline

I am quite right-brained and so it’s hard for me to outline my writing. I can do it best by talking to someone and then following the dots of our conversation. Luckily, I like to conclude or finish things once they are started so I’ll keep working until I have enough to feel like I know “which way the horse is going.” What I have noticed is that more left-brained writers outline easily and yet, sometimes, have a harder time making  their text sing with strong verbs, metaphors and poetic writing. Continue reading “Starting to Outline” »

Organizing Your Book

Together the last two days with author to frame her book. She has years of great material but it needs to be organized. We started with theme of book, went to deciding on a working title, and now are in the process of determining sections and what ideas will go under each section. It’s easy to brainstorm with another because you stay on track. Continue reading “Organizing Your Book” »

Chapters from Memoir as Magazine Pieces

Here to do a memoir for client. Snowy day and lots of work ahead.  Great story but needs shaping to most important period. Lots there.  Determined that showing her family’s love and loyalty to each other most important and relying safety information important too.  Questions about publishing first in essays in well-known and small press magazines.

Yes, it’s a good idea. Keep it to a third of manuscript.

 

The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes

I changed my mind and it feels good to do so. I didn’t enjoy the lackluster voice of the protagonist in The Sense of An Ending until I sat down and read it for a length of time; sometimes reading a chunk of a book at one time makes a difference to me in how I can register a book’s tone and voice. Well, I  settled in with in and came to like this 60’s man who was really an ordinary “every man” who took what life gave him and made it enough. Not pro-active until the end. The book became an alternative to Catcher in the Rye with the same sensibility. Continue reading “The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes” »

Reading and Writing Helps Memoir

Read for Benecia Literary Arts and audience seemed to like the female touch in Salt and Paper: 65 Candles. Cooperative, peaceful, spiritual, living life with meaning of contribution and higher calling.

Reading Julian Barnes for a book group led by Pat Holt, former SF Chronicle’s book review. We’re thinking of what would make a modern classic where woman are portrayed realistically as powerful as they often are. Enough of the put downs of women and what is womanly. Julian Barnes book is The Sense of an Ending and is about memory. Continue reading “Reading and Writing Helps Memoir” »

Jennifer Eagen’s Novels

Eagen won the Pulitzer Price for A Visit from the Goon Squad which is a richly layered character driven book. The “goon squad” is a metaphor for age coming to her characters, some maturing in wisdom and some with quirks of personality. This is book of human nature by an author who isn’t into violence but isn’t afraid of the “shadow forces” in us all. A telling of  people which includes their shadow impulses gives us a glimpse into our common reality not readily shown. Continue reading “Jennifer Eagen’s Novels” »

Writing and the Egrets

Went on a walk in Alameda, CA, about thirty minutes from where I live on the marsh in Emeryville, to see the egrets nesting. Although we have egrets here, I understand there are about twenty places in this San Francisco Bay area that they actually build a nest and lay their eggs. They nest in colonies and the trees they pick and return to year after year are often called colonized trees because many nests are built in one tree or an several close by trees. Continue reading “Writing and the Egrets” »

Alison Bechtel’s New Book Are You My Mother?

Just saw Alison Bechtel at San Francisco’s Booksmith Height Street. (What a neighborhood to remind us of the 60’s and the “flower children” we once were.) It was a crowd of all ages and orientations and the store actually felt warm and inviting with the energy of the crowd coming from folks that wanted connecting. This is what Alison does for us. She helps us connect with her experiences of family and allows us to appreciate the truth in what we have lived, rather than the illusions of our defense. Continue reading “Alison Bechtel’s New Book Are You My Mother?” »