Welcome to my blog!
Thanks to Sandra Warren, http://sandrawarrenwrites.blogspot.com/, my critique group friend for having me join. I’ll get right to the questions.
1. and 2. What am I working on right now? How does it differ from what I’ve written before?
My current projects are to finish my WIP, a MG humor book, and to write a Memoir about my experience with cancer. Very different from each other, but I like to have more than one thing going at a time.
3. Why do you write what you do?
When people ask why I write, I tell them the truth. I’ve tried to quit. But, not writing makes me miserable. So I continue to work at it. I read a lot, I attend writing conferences—Writing & Illustrating For Young Readers is my favorite, http://www.wifyr.com/, and I continue to learn the craft.
At the moment, I’m focused on learning how to write Memoir.
4. How does your writing process work?
The first step in learning to write is to Read. Read. Read.
The next step is to write, write, write, and write more.
For this new-to-me-genre of Memoir, I had to learn what I was getting into. A memoir is different from a biography or autobiography because a memoir describes a slice of life or a theme from a person’s life as opposed to a personal history.
In my reading of memoirs, the authors have told everything about the section of their lives they addressed. The books are deeply personal yet have universal themes, ideas or experiences. The books described the good, happy, and inspirational; the bad, difficult, and sad; and the ugly, illegal, and sordid things the authors did themselves or experienced at the hand of others.
Author Cheryl Strayed teaches Memoir. In a recent radiocast she said she “didn’t wait” to write the book Wild, though it was published 17 years after the events she described. She explains, “Memoir is not the form of what happened, it’s the form of what what happened meant . So until a writer has something to say about an experience, there is nothing to say. It took me that long to really have an idea of what this story was truly about and what I wanted to write about.“ If you’d like to listen to the entire interview go to: http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/cheryl-strayed-wild-1
Some of the memoirs I read revealed detailed private information (for instance mental health issues or illegal activities or personal relationships) of the author, his or her parents, family members, and/or friends that influenced the author’s life. Many of the authors told the story of their own coming of age. Most included their religious beliefs or their lack of or loss of religious beliefs. The authors told their stories without apology, guilt, regret or self pity. My favorite memoirs were the ones that gave hope for a better future rather than just remembering scenes from the author’s life.
I’ve learned that to write a good memoir one must do what Madeleine L’Engle wrote, regarding communicating with each other, “It means really speaking to each other, destroying platitudes and jargon and all the safe cushions of small talk with which we insulate ourselves; not being afraid to talk about the things we don’t talk about, the ultimate things that really matter.”
I’ve learned that writing Memoir is not any easier than any other kind of writing, but it is a fun challenge!
Look for these authors next week…
CAROL LYNCH WILLIAMS, author of over two dozen published books, including the widely acclaimed YA novel, The Chosen One, http://throwingupwords.wordpress.com/
AMY WHITE, author of Dressing the Naked Hand: The World’s Greatest Guide to Puppetry and Puppeteering (May, 2014), http://writinglibrarian.blogspot.com/
and YA Fantasy and Science Fiction Writer, BRADLEY JOHNSON, http://storyjuggler.wordpress.com/