Tag Archives: history

The Curse of Backstory

Of all the story-writing sins committed by beginning writers, by far the worst consists of dumping a trailer-load of backstory on the unsuspecting reader. Fortunately, this error becomes clear almost immediately, at least to the reader. As an editor, this practice … Continue reading

Posted in editing, novel writing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Saving your family’s words of wisdom

I touched on this topic a couple years back, but it bears repeating, especially for those working on a memoir. For many of us, there are precious words of wisdom tucked away in our memories. Odd and typically quirky, these folksy … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Damn the skeletons! Open the closet.

One might be tempted to think that only readers find surprises in a memoir. But if the writer incorporates some genealogical research, he or she is just as likely to stumble onto little-known, if not completely forgotten, family lore. I’d be … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Highs and lows

Slow and steady may win some contests, but if that’s how your story moves along, you might as well take up something else, like gastropod racing. If, on the other hand, you’d like to write stuff that folks might actually want … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’ll have a “MAC memoir”

Okay, it’s not what you’re thinking. I’m not talking about a manuscript and some rabbit food on a sesame seed bun. What I’m referring to are the basic building blocks of any good story, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. The acronym for this magic formula … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

My memoir–my memories

Two eye-witnesses, two conflicting stories. Happens all the time. Right? Having watched endless courtroom dramas, either live or via Hollywood, we’ve all heard that witnesses often interpret what they’ve seen in different ways. Defense attorneys love it when witnesses can’t … Continue reading

Posted in Memoir | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The More Things Change? Nah. How to write a novel–part 31

We tend to hear (and repeat) the same things over and over, and when we do, we often bestow the status of “truth” upon them, even when they may not have earned it. Thus it is with “the more things change, the … Continue reading

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment