I've heard Mary Wasmuth's diary entries and essays in the journaling class I lead at the Weston (Massacusetts) Public Library. They've moved me, and made me laugh. And I'm pretty sure they've made me smarter. I'm thrilled that after several years of inviting Mary to contribute to this blog, she has … [Read more...] about Rewriting: When it’s Time to Start Over
I’ve got a quotation over my desk by the novelist Louis Auchincloss. In large font, it reminds me daily, hourly that, “A man can spend his whole existence never learning the simple lesson that he has only one life and that if he fails to do what he wants with it, nobody else really cares.” I've … [Read more...] about Who Cares If You Write?
I regularly check Allyson Latta's web site for meaningful ideas for memoir writers. In her guest post that follows, Allyson explains how preachiness mars a memoir and she offers practical strategies for avoiding it in your manuscript. - Lynette We were sitting cross-legged on the floor in my … [Read more...] about Allyson Latta: The Best Memoirs Don’t Preach
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?
Disclaimer: My one contact with a literary agent about my own work was pleasant and professional. My opinions below are based on agent blogs I read online. The ferociously fast rise of self-publishing has significantly reduced writers’ dependence on agents—the first line of publishing gatekeepers. … [Read more...] about Are Literary Agents Outmoded? Should They Be? Part 1
Victoria Flynn's particular slant on writers, writing, and life has riveted me since I first read her blog, V's Place: An artists' cafe. Her open and questioning approach never fails to engage me. I commented on one of her posts, No Man's Land, and I was thrilled when she asked me (or allowed me?) … [Read more...] about Writers: Afraid of Your Idols? Guest Post by E. Victoria Flynn
Interest in genealogy, family history, and memoir* is so intense these days it’s about time a book to guide writers working in these genres became available. Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing, an anthology edited by Carol Smallwood and Suzann Holland, is that book. … [Read more...] about Book Review: Women Writing on Family
For some of the creative writing classes I teach—thankfully, not all—I'm paid according to the number of students who enroll. Each student pays a very modest amount, so a small class means small remuneration for me. After recently teaching six students at an arts center, I screwed up my courage and … [Read more...] about They Came for the Cookies
Recently the extraordinary teens in my creating writing class read from their work in a public forum. It's true the audience was mostly made up of the teens' relatives, but even that's meaningful. Some of my students had never allowed their parents to see their work before. And trust me, their … [Read more...] about My Wonderful Creative Writing Teens