Writing Wednesday/ My Publishing Story…

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

 

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

 

My Publishing Story

When I finished my first book Bristol boyz Stomp, there was no doubt in my mind that I would land myself a big deal agent and get an amazing book deal, immediately. I was already a professional writer.

At eleven-years-old I would stay up all night, drinking hot tea that I made from hot tap water.  I would take the tea into my closet with a flashlight, a book, a notebook and a pen. The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew were my favorites. I would read a book and then would write an alternate ending, sometimes rewriting the entire book.

Writing Wednesday Bobbsey Twins

I also collect magazines.  I would find interesting looking people in the magazines, cut them out and then I would create ‘lives and then stories’ for them. What a little weirdo I was…

I crack myself up now when I think about the time I read a story about Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker and it seemed they were not in a good place so I cut them out of the magazine and created a better life and wrote a happy ending for the two of them.

For many years I told other peoples stories and I loved my job. I started quite a few historical romance novels, a cook book, several YA novels, a parenting book and two children’s books. These manuscripts are all still with me, collecting dust, maybe even growing potatoes. Someday…

In 1999 my youngest brother, musician David Albert was brutally beaten to death in a random road rage attack while on his way home from band practice. I dealt with the trauma the way I dealt with everything for my entire life, I wrote about it.

That journal was used to write the book that I rewrote, edited, rewrote and edited again and finally it was ready for publication, or so I thought.

I searched and researched agents, their agencies and their client lists. I made a spread sheet of my top twenty favorites, in order. I prepared a proposal, a query letter, a synopsis and a cover letter.

I decided to send out five-queries a week. Once I received fifteen rejection letters, I decided to have my manuscript critiqued and professionally edited. The first thing the editor said was the agents were most likely not reading my manuscript because it wasn’t formatted correctly. I fixed that, tweaked my synopsis, proposal and cover letters too. Re-energized I created another top twenty list and started hitting send.

Quotes Goals change the plan not the goal

There were requests here and there for several chapters, full reads and a few phone calls. The first yes I received was from Tate Publishing. I saw some negative comments about them online so I let that yes go, even though I really liked the woman I spoke with and she seemed to sincerely believe in my book and me as a writer.

The big agent finally called, mailed me a contract and before I knew what was happening an editor was calling from a top five-publishing house. After speaking with him I had a question for my agent. I called and left a message. After three days I called her again.  I didn’t like her. I decided it was a professional relationship and it would be okay. When I spoke with the editor again he asked me, “Do you really think this book will sell nationally or will it be more regional?” I don’t know what it was about that statement, or maybe it was his arrogant attitude but I realized I was not with people that were for me and my book. I let them both go and cried for days.

All in all I had collected ninety-nine rejection letters.

I had spoken with dozens of people through this process and the one I was comfortable with, the one that actually read my book was, Janey from Tate. I did some research on the company and its authors. I found a Facebook group of Tate Authors and reached out to many of them. The feedback was all good.

I received a contract. I had it reviewed by a literary attorney and he said it was a good contract and he was thrilled because it allowed me to maintain all rights to my work.

My husband and I flew out to Oklahoma to meet the Tate Publishing staff and to see their facilities. It was quite impressive.

My December visit to Tate...

My December visit to Tate…

The production and publication process took months but it was all exciting. I cannot describe the feeling of holding my first book in my hands and the firsts for the book and me as a writer that came after.

ITS HERE

 

There have been a few bumps in the road along the way but Tate has handled every one professionally. I am so happy I listened to that little voice that told me to go with them.

 

Do you have a publishing story?  A publishing dream?

Doreen

 

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Stolen Joy…

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As we drove down Market Street, in Philadelphia I asked my husband John, “Do you see any signs that we are in the holiday season?” He looked around as we drove past one Drexel University building after another and he said no, not one.

University of Pennsylvania had nothing, 30th Street Station, not a tree in sight.  City Hall did not have one decoration hanging. Not a menorah, wreath, Happy Kwanza, Blessed Solstice just nothing.

It has been disappearing a little more each year but it hasn’t been this noticeable to me until this year.

Philly skyline

I was excited and looking forward to driving into the city with John for his cousin’s wedding. It was a late afternoon service and the reception didn’t start until five-o’clock. We hadn’t been in the city at nighttime, together for ages and we looked forward to the people, the bustle, the traffic and the lights.

Those Holiday lights that add sparkle to a city that is trying to rebound from hard times. Shoppers that are breathing winds of hope and renewing the faith of struggling shop owners. The smiles on everyone’s face’s because it is impossible not to feel happy when you are caught up in such festive beauty, or is it?

Christmas 2013

If Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Merry Kwanza or Happy Solstice upsets you I feel sorry for you because you are miserable and unhappy. I worry about what mental health issue has caused you to be so offended by another person’s happiness and I am also angry with you.

More than that I am angry with myself because you and your rights have stolen my rights and with them my joy and I let you do it.

 

 

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Writing Wednesday/ Manuscript Formatting

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Every Wednesday I share some of the things I have found that worked well for me and some that didn’t work so well on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again.  The sort of stuff I wish somebody would have told me back then…

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

 

Formatting Your Manuscript

 

I will never forget the relief and at the same time the sheer terror I felt when I typed The End on my first manuscript. When I received my first request for the full manuscript from an agent I was so excited, until I saw her instructions for manuscript formatting. My manuscript was already finished. I used a fancy font, fancier chapter headings and I included photos and illustrations. I did not follow that agents instructions and sent it off to her as it was. Within two-hours I received an e-mail saying thank you but no thank you.

 

Ouch.

confused woman

 

No matter which type of publishing route you choose to take your manuscript will need to be professionally edited (by a book editor) and it will need to be formatted in standard publishing form.  While this is the business standard keep in mind each agent and or publisher may have their own specific instructions for submissions. Follow their instructions carefully.

 

 Standard Formatting:

 

On the first page, top left place your name and contact information. Use your real name here not a pen name. Add your full address, phone number, e-mail and website URL.

 

On the top right put the title of your book and under the title put your word count, rounded to the nearest thousand.

 

Halfway down the page in the center, put your first chapter title- hit enter twice and put your name or a pen name if you are using one. This page is not numbered.

 

 

Use a one inch margin on all sides.

 

 Use a standard twelve-point font such as Times New Roman, Ariel or New Courier.

 

Use a header on each page that includes on the top left of the page your last name/ the book title in all caps/ and the page number on the top right of the page. Use forward slashes to separate your name and book title.

 

Start each chapter on its own page ½ to 1/3 of the way down the page. The chapter number and chapter title should be bold and in capital letters.

 

Indent five-spaces for each new paragraph.

Writers Clock

 

Double space your entire text.

 

Use only one space in between sentences.

 

Scene breaks should be marked with a single # sign- aligned left.

 

Start each chapter on a separate page.

 

When I wrote my first book I had no idea that when using word you can track your changes and that word will automatically add your name/book title and page number if you use the formatting/header feature. I also didn’t know that there was a find and replace feature that you can use if your main characters name is Lilly and you had a revelation that her name should be Jenny. Word will find every Lilly for you and replace it with Jenny. I felt like such a dummy.

Quote Writing Ann Rice Make a fool

 

 

Do you have any formatting tips?

 

Keep writing,

 

Doreen

 

I would love to connect with you here too:

 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bristol-boyzStomp/113804488656243

 

http://www.twitter.com/doreenb8

 

http://www.instagram/doreenmcgettigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Writing Wednesday/ #IWSG/ Contests

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The first Wednesday of every month I participate in The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.  The #IWSG is one AMAZING group of talented writers. Some of them are beginners and some are professional authors. One of the many things we all have in common is our moments of extreme insecurity about our craft. Another is our gratitude and strong -pay it forward attitudes when our confidence is soaring.

We would love to have you join us:

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

InsecureWritersSupportGroup3

 

Every Wednesday I also share some of the things I have found that worked and some that didn’t work so well on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. Being insecure at times is one thing I had to and still deal with in my writing. Learning to listen to other writers, taking their advice and learning to write through those insecurities is a must.

 

Typewriter Pink

 

Writing Contests

I will be honest, I am still a bit confused by and I get quickly overwhelmed when trying to sift through all of the contests out there for writers. For that reason I didn’t enter my first book in any contests. I would like to enter The Stranger in My Recliner in a few. While the book is in production I would like to enter a few short story contests too.

What I’ve learned:

  • The saying, “If it cost money it isn’t legitimate,” is not true when it comes to writing contests. There are many established contests that charge an entrance fee to raise prize money.
  • Many magazines offer writing contests.
  • Do your research before entering. Request the contest facilitators send you a list of previous winners. Ask other writers for contest information.
  • How many winners are chosen?
  • Is there a cash prize, will the winners be published and where?
  • trophy
  • Will the winners work be promoted and how?
  • Who are the judges and what is their process?
  • I was one of the judges for the Huffington Post’s Memoir Contest. I enjoyed reading all of the entries (most of them) and it was so hard to choose my favorites. It was a lengthy process and I learned so much. The one thing that consistently frustrated me while judging that contest was how many entrants ignored the formatting instructions. If you enter a contest make sure you read and follow the formatting instructions. Some contests will disqualify your entry if you don’t and others may take points off.
  • Most of the major writer’s conferences offer contests. If you are planning to attend a conference next year be sure to ask.

Have you ever entered a writing contest? Do you have any suggestions?

Just a few suggestions:

http://www.freelancewriting.com/creative-writing-contests.php

http://writersviews.com/writing-contests.php

http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/short-short-story-competition

http://www.witf.org/contests/2014/10/Enter-the-2015-central-pa-writing-contest.php

https://winningwriters.com/our-contests

Good Luck and Happy Writing,

Doreen

I would love to connect with you here too:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bristol-boyzStomp/113804488656243

http://www.twitter.com/doreenb8

Quotes Goals change the plan not the goal

 

 

 

 

 

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Gold Diggers and Dead Beat Dads/ Author Interview and Review…

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I recently read Gold Diggers and Dead Beat Dads. I am excited that the author, Valerie Rind agreed to answer a few questions and I applaud her for writing an intelligent, important and due to the serious subject a surprisingly witty book.

Author Valerie Rind Book Cover

 

My Review: Smart, well written and eye opening…

The author had me at the title, Gold Diggers and Dead Beat Dad$. The book is a compilation of some extremely painful, personal stories of financial exploitation and ruin committed by those the victims most loved and trusted.

We are taught at a very young age that it’s not polite to ask someone about their financial status including how much they make, how much they save or their credit rating. The author shines a bright light on the financial wreckage that can happen if we don’t shake off the controversy and start asking personal financial questions before we say I-Do.

Valerie Rind writes from her heart as she shares her own devastating story of lending her deceptive husband money for a start-up business and discovering a financially devastating secret he kept from her for many years.

Along with the heartbreaking stories and valuable lessons learned by others the author offers common-sense tips on avoiding and overcoming financial ruin. It is written well and left me feeling like I was not alone after being devastated financially by loved ones, myself.

An important book for anyone considering marriage, caring for an elderly loved- one or blending a family.

Author bio:

Author Valerie Rind photo

 

During a hiatus from my career as a corporate attorney, I worked for a local housing authority, where I created its pilot personal finance program for 300 low-income individuals.

For fun, I served as one of the founding volunteer moderators for the my FICO community forum.

My resume is a checkerboard with gigs like sailing on Caribbean yachts, running the office of a TV and film casting company, and negotiating megabucks contracts for a Fortune 200 technology company.

Irrelevant credentials: BA in Russian Language & Literature from Duke University. LLB and Masters of Law degrees from the University of Sydney. Yes, in Australia. I currently live in the Washington, DC area.

Interview:

What 3 questions about finances would you suggest to ask before considering a serious relationship with someone?

In Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads, I list more than 50 questions, so it’s hard to narrow it down to three!

A key topic is how your potential mate handles debt.  Ask: Do you have any credit card or student loan debt? How much? What are the interest rates? Do you pay in full or only the minimum amount due? Do you ever pay late? Exceed the credit limit? Is it time to get a card with better terms? What’s your plan to eliminate your debt? (You should be worried if your sweetheart has no plan).

How can someone considering a midlife marriage that involves blending a family protect their own personal finances and their children’s inheritance?

Opinions vary on whether couples should have entirely separate or combined bank and investment accounts. It’s such an individual matter, and the best solution is often somewhere in the middle.

It’s critical to get your will or trust updated, along with the beneficiaries for your 401(k) accounts, IRAs, and life insurance policies. One couple delayed taking care of business, and the second wife was left with almost nothing when her husband died. Blended families are a challenge if people have different ideas about “entitlement” to inheritances.

Can you share your path to publication, any difficulties along the way, and why you chose the path you chose?

I tried the “traditional” route first. Agents were interested but none seemed like a good match. I was frustrated and put the manuscript on the virtual shelf for five years. Periodically it annoyed me that I hadn’t finished the project.  One day I read about self-publishing. Wow, all I have to do is push a button! If I had known how much time, effort, and money it would take to self-publish … but it’s definitely been worthwhile and a lot of fun.

What are three red flags one should watch for concerning a mate’s finances that might suggest we are being lied to or scammed?

money lock box

Your partner is evasive about certain bills, bank statements, or other mail. When you ask questions about money matters, you get dodgy answers.

Her phone rings often with urgent, private calls or texts from people you don’t know.

He is often inexplicably late, absent, or unavailable.

Do you listen to music or work in silence while writing?

I definitely need music to stay “in the zone.” I love an obscure Internet radio station called XPoNential Radio that plays “an eclectic blend of blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country.”  Sometimes I get temporarily distracted when I stop to download a song that’s playing!

Are you planning another book?

Yes. People are already sharing their stories with me for the sequel. I’m interviewing leading authorities on subjects such as child support enforcement.  There weren’t enough stories to fill a whole chapter on family businesses gone wrong, so I’m seeking more anecdotes on that topic.

 

Connect with Valerie here:

Blog:ValerieRind.com

Twitter: @ValerieRind

Facebook: Valerie Rind

Google Plus: +ValerieRind

Various purchase links:

Available on Amazon in paperback:

http://amzn.to/1qJMGuK

Amazon

Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads

Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads: True Stories of Friends, Family, and Financial Ruin

 

 

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Writing Wednesday/ When Production Goes Wrong

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

 

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

 

Production Gone Wrong

A few months ago I started receiving request from book reviewers and also had a few requests from non profits to donate copies of my first book Bristol boyz Stomp. I was excited because until then either myself, or my publicist requested reviews.

My publisher sent me a shipment of books and I sent them out to the reviewers and non profits. I also sent a few copies to social media friends.

Bristol boyz first shipment

Last weekend I was invited to attend an event at an assisted living facility and was also asked to sign copies of my book.

While at the event my 14-year-old granddaughter was proud to show an elderly resident where her picture was in the book. Her picture wasn’t there. Other photos were missing too. We quickly went through the other books and each one of them was defective. I was so embarrassed. So many copies had been given out. Were the defective copies being sold at book stores, Amazon, Walmart? I was so angry.

If you cant say nice say it in french

I worked so hard on that book. I had it professionally edited three times. My publisher had it edited again. How could this have happened? Was it bad karma because I refuse to review badly or unedited books?

Perhaps it was one irresponsible worker at my publisher or one person at the printing facility. Was it my fault for not checking the books before I sent them out? I assumed they would be exactly the same as every other shipment I received.

My marketing rep and my publisher promised to make it right immediately and I was grateful for that but can it ever be made right? I love my publisher and this was the first issue I have had with them in three-years. They are handling it professionally doing their best to make me feel better but oh how I wish they would go back to the old printer and quality assurance.

Lesson learned: Check everything and never assume anything. As writers we work so hard to earn our credibility. It’s bad enough when we make our own mistakes but when someone else is responsible for the error it can be crushing to our confidence. I most certainly will never send another book out without checking it first. I should at least have Louie check it for me, he is the best editor…

Bristol boyz stomp Louie

If you received one of those copies I am so sorry. Consider it a collector’s item, there are only fifty copies out there (I hope and pray.) If you would like a corrected copy please let me know.

Please help me feel better and tell me, has anything like this ever happened to you? What was your most embarrassing editing or non-editing error?

Keep writing,

Doreen

Quotes Start writing

I would love to connect with you here too:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bristol-boyzStomp/113804488656243

http://www.twitter.com/doreenb8

 

 

 

 

 

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Caregiving and Stress

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Caregiving and Stress 

Nearly ten-million adult children over the age of fifty are caring for their aging parents. With ten-thousand people turning 65 every day and with the trend expected to continue through the year 2020 the numbers are expected to skyrocket and so will the stress.

More and more women are willing to take a financial hit to care for their aging parents. I left my job for eighteen-months to care for my mother-in- law and most recently have been caring for my father long distance. Leaving my job and family in Philadelphia and traveling to Florida to help my mother care for my father is stressful, it takes a lot of planning and I couldn’t do it without a lot of help and good information.

“I’m pleased to partner with Midlife Boulevard to bring you this important public service information about National Family Caregivers Month.”

Midlife Blvd badge

My friends at Midlife Boulevard have been an online lifeline, full of inspiration as well as valuable information throughout my father’s illness.

It is important to build a network when you are caring for a family member, especially long distance. Enlist neighbors, church members and friends. They may be willing to pick up groceries, do home repairs or provide meals. Ask friends and family members that are not in the area to make scheduled calls, send cards and handwritten notes and care packages. Many people want to help and if you are like me, when someone offers it is so hard to say yes and then tell them what you need. You need to accept whatever help, is offered.

If you are considering hiring outside help, ask everyone in your network online and in real life for recommendations. Even if you can only hire someone for a few hours a week, those few hours will give you peace of mind.

 

Another way to alleviate stress before it happens is to create a list of where things are in the house in case of an emergency. You want to list the location of the electric panel, the water shut- off valve, have an emergency contact list that includes family to be called (in order) doctors, plumber, electrician, preferred hospital,  medications, location of extra keys, pets names and schedules etc… It is a lot of work but in an emergency this information will be priceless.

The most important thing you can do for your loved one as their caregiver is to take care of yourself. Accept or ask for help so you can rest, get out for a walk or just to get out and have lunch with a friend.

My Parents in Florida

While caregiving it is easy to get lost in the business. Remember to sit with your loved one and just be. Watch an old movie, listen to their favorite music with them and reminisce.  These are the memories that will matter most to you.

Another valuable resource for me has been the community of caregivers and experts put together by AARP aarp.org/caregiving.

 

http://youtu.be/Ggjc8u_1ccc     Spoon feeding caregiving video

 

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And the lie was…

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Yesterday I played along with a group of other bloggers in a game of 5 truths and a lie.

Today is the day to fess up and reveal the lie.

I cannot wait to see if I guessed any of the other bloggers lies correctly.

1. My husband and I were married and had our reception at the Jersey Shore, illegally. We did not have a marriage license. The last day it was possible to pick up our license I was stuck in the worst traffic in Philadelphia and then a guy ran into the back of my car. I didn’t make it to the clerks office in time.

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

We went ahead with the fake wedding and made it official eight-days later with some very special witnesses. These little munchkin’s kept our secret, until now.

Second wedding with the baby parade

2. I had my first child when I was seventeen. This is true. I got married when I was sixteen because my older boyfriend was going in the service and I wanted to go with him. Exactly nine-months after our wedding my daughter was born.  I loved being a mom then and I still do. Being a grandmother is amazing.

 

3. One of my best friends is one of the Jersey Housewives.

 

Jersey Houswives 2

 

A few of you guessed correctly. This one is the lie. I did meet one of the Jersey housewives, we exchanged books and follow each other on social media. She is not one of my best friends, yet:) 

4. I have thirteen grandchildren. Oh yes I do! I have been over-blessed and still have a son that isn’t married yet and another son that wants more. Their ages range from 19-4. My oldest daughter, the one I had at seventeen, made me a grandmother when she was twenty-one and I was thirty-eight. When Allyson was three-years-old my younger brother was murdered. A few months later two of my daughters and my daughter-in-law were expecting. Sitting on the porch with Allyson I asked her how I got  so lucky to be having three new grandbabies at once. She smiled and told me Uncle David was going to keep sending me babies from Heaven until I wasn’t sad anymore.  Oh how I love that girl and she was right. Our family had a population explosion and it only recently slowed down.

 

5. I ride a Harley.

48249_4432869015482_120507747_oDaytona Biker Girl

I do. I prefer to just ride with my husband because Philly isn’t motorcycle friendly.  Florida is more my speed because I am not a fan of being cold. I am thinking about getting a cute trike to ride around on when we are in Florida.

 

6. My husband brought home a homeless woman one night and she lived with us for nearly three years. This is true. Sophie was eighty-years-old and homeless. I tell her story in my next book The Stranger in My Recliner. It will be out next year.

Now you know more about me than you did yesterday. What surprised you the most?

 

 

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5 Truths and a Lie…

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5 Truths and a Lie

One of my favorite things about blogging is getting to know so many fabulous people. Today we are writing 5 truths about ourselves and one lie. How well do you know me? Can you guess the lie?

 

1. My husband and I were married and had our reception at the Jersey Shore, illegally. We did not have a marriage license.

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

2. I had my first child when I was seventeen.

 

3. One of my best friends is one of the Jersey Housewives.

Jersey Houswives 2

 

4 I have thirteen grandchildren.

 

5. I ride a Harley.

Harley pen and box

 

6. My husband brought home a homeless woman one night and she lived with us for nearly three years.

 

Good Luck!

 

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Writing Wednesday/ Writing Memoir

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WRITING WEDNESDAY

Typewriter Pink

 

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

 

Writing Memoir

Most of us believe our lives are boring but the truth is everyone does have a story to tell. We all have that one thing that happened in our lives that changed our course in either a positive or negative way.

What exactly is a memoir? Let’s start with what it is not. It is not an autobiography which is the story of your entire lifetime. Unless you are somebody famous that has many accomplishments to your credit readers will not be interested in your entire life. It also is not a biography, which is also the story of an entire lifetime.

What a memoir is, finally clicked with me when my editor said, imagine someone is taking a walk around the block and they see your house and walk up to look into your large picture window. This day happened to be the day that “it” happened. The “it” is what changed or altered the course of your life for either the good or the bad.  What would that person, who is walking by your house, see? Whatever it is that the person would see is the place you start your memoir. After the “it” event there should be some brief back story, the resolution and how you arrived there and a bit about where you are now.

Quotes Just Write Dont worry

A memoir is about an event, an incident, something that changed you in a positive or a negative way. It explains how you dealt with the “it,” The author questions what happened, tells the lessons learned and where you went from that moment on.

The memoir can be written in first person from the author’s point of view. It can also be told as Narrative nonfiction which is written like fiction-in story form.

There is little dialogue.

The reader should learn something and their life should also be affected in some way.

Memoirs should never be about revenge and should not be a book length rant.

They are between 90,000 and 100,000 words.

When writing nonfiction it helps to start with an outline.

Make a list of any research you will need to do

If you are writing nonfiction, you need to write the truth. Real names and places should be used unless using them will cause great harm. If you are planning on using fake names and places consider telling your story as fiction, instead of non-fiction.

If it happened to you, it is your story,  you own it and have every right to tell it in your own way.

Pic of Maya Angelou quote Writing

An outline starts with a brief description of your story. The description should include the beginning, the middle and the end in a concise three paragraph’s. Next, write a paragraph or two on each chapter. Name your chapters and choose a title for your memoir. Nothing is written in stone, this is just the starting point.

I find it helps to have some photo’s and personal items that remind me of the time period I am writing about on my desk.

While writing The Stranger in My Recliner I kept a photo of Sophie, a few Peppermint Patties and a can of peas, all of which reminded me of her.

Once your outline is finished the next step is to write your proposal.  Once your proposal is written you will have a solid foundation to write your book.

Happy Writing,

Doreen

Quote A professional writer is

 

 

 

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