When I was growing up, my family was working class. But my mother, whose parents had been owners of small businesses, had ambitions for us. My parents, both African Americans from the South, had talked about the past, but my father had always been reserved about his. His parents had died within … [Read more...] about Family Secret Uncovered: A Revelation in (Property) Deeds
My Mother's Money
Writers: Got Too Many/Too Few Ideas?
The range of obstacles writers face with their writing projects never fails to surprise me. Here are two that some of my writing students have faced and a few ways that could help you get beyond that perky problem. What if you have too many ideas and can’t figure out how to narrow them down … [Read more...] about Writers: Got Too Many/Too Few Ideas?
Writing Contests: Are they Worth the Hassle—and the Cost?
Considering the Value of Writing Contests I’ve been absent from this blog while polishing up my essays and memoir opening to submit to contests. Entering these contests has provoked several questions with answers, some good, others not so much. In a blog post several years ago, I asked my site … [Read more...] about Writing Contests: Are they Worth the Hassle—and the Cost?
Talking Memoir with Writing Instructor, Coach, and Publisher Brooke Warner, Part 1
As a memoir writer, as well as a memoir coach myself, I’ve followed Brooke Warner’s work on behalf of memoir and memoir writers for years. It’s a pleasure to welcome her here so you can learn more about her varied work, including publishing. - Lynette You’re a writing instructor, coach, and … [Read more...] about Talking Memoir with Writing Instructor, Coach, and Publisher Brooke Warner, Part 1
I’m 1st Place Winner of the Magic of Memoir Essay Contest!
Sure, I'm grinning all over myself. My essay, "No More Secrets and Silence," was awarded 1st place in the Magic of Memoir Essay Contest, chosen from 185 submissions. My prize is $400, which has already arrived. And the essay will also be included in the forthcoming Magic of Memoir Anthology. … [Read more...] about I’m 1st Place Winner of the Magic of Memoir Essay Contest!
In Need of a Neat Conclusion?
An editor remarked that after sticking with a memoir for 300 pages, he felt he was owed a tidy resolution at the end. I understand his feelings. I even sympathize with them. But I don’t agree. Do readers earn the right to a snug, reassuring wrap up to a memoir? Must the narrative of a segment of … [Read more...] about In Need of a Neat Conclusion?
When the Editor Is Edited
It's Done . . . Isn't It? Anyone who listened to my laments during my years of searching for my mother’s money, then supported me while I moaned my way through writing about the experience, knows how agonizing I considered the process of putting it down on paper. I’m glad my writing of My Mother’s … [Read more...] about When the Editor Is Edited
Would You Let This Man Edit Your Book?
I was terribly disappointed in the first editor I shared the opening chapters of my memoir manuscript with. Her specialty was fiction, but that was okay. Memoirs are written and sold like novels these days. It was her financial arrangements that grated. When I contacted her, she gave me a … [Read more...] about Would You Let This Man Edit Your Book?
After the First Draft is Done
I can hardly believe it. The first full draft of my memoir, My Mother's Money, is done. Done. Every item of information that needed to go into it is down on paper. But right now, it's mostly just information. Facts. Data. Dates. Only four or five chapters of solid narrative. I won't minimize it, … [Read more...] about After the First Draft is Done