Remember the joke: “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.” Same with writing memoir . . . one incident at a time. “Whether your life story has an over-arching motif or you plan to cobble together a montage of more diverse meditations, the project can seem less overwhelming if you approach it as a series of mini memoirs—two-to three-page essays . . . pivotal points. . . in the broader portrait of your life.” Richard Campbell, January 2017 Writers Digest “The beauty in approaching your life story in terms of mini memoirs is that when it comes to themes, you don’t have to pick just one. Write scenes or vignettes on each theme that speaks to you. You may find that mini memoirs unfold more naturally than the more unwieldy, longer story you have to tell—and that they build momentum strong enough to carry you through…
Whether you are writing memoir or fiction, it’s all composed of people and things that happened. It’s smaller stories within larger stories. Today’s prompt is in two parts. Part 1: Make a list of people and factors that shaped you, during your childhood, teen years, young adult years. What has happened in your life that makes you who you are? We’ll be using these lists later. During your childhood/early years: Who helped shaped you? Who was influential in your life? Who was important in your young life? Family, family friends, teachers, your friends. Where did you grow up? Did you walk to/from school? What did you do after school? Who was home when you got there? What were weekends like? Be brief. You can expand later. Anything else you want to add – important people and events in your childhood. During your teen years. Who was important during your teen years? …
Write about . . . The missing piece.
If you have attended a Jumpstart Writing Workshop, you may have heard me say, “There are two kinds of writing I like. One is when the writing speaks to universal truths—something we can all relate to. The other is when the writing speaks to me personally.” This excerpt from “The Review Rat Race,” a “5-Minute Memoir” by Barbara Solomon Josselsohn expands upon that thought. “To me, success meant having readers who felt that my novel articulated something important, something they had felt deeply inside but had never been able to express or fully understand before my book came along.” —Barbara Solomon Josselsohn * That often happens in Jumpstart . . . the writing touches us deeply as the writer articulates in ways that we hadn’t been able to express or understand prior to hearing their freewrite. * Excerpt from January 2017 issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine.
The Write Spot Blog is all about writing: Writing Prompts to inspire you; Just Write tidbits to motivate you; Quotes to let you know others are in the same boat as you; Places to Submit to get your work out there; Book Reviews to share authors’ work; Guest Posts for all kinds of writing-related things. Today’s Guest Blog Post by Suzanne Murray talks about increasing your creativity by relaxing. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But what about cortisol, adrenaline, and epigenetics? Factor those in, and it becomes apparent that relaxation isn’t as easy as drifting in a hammock. Fortunately, Suzanne Murray offers strategies to help us learn to relax. HOW CREATIVITY CAN HELP US RELAX We all know that relaxation makes us and our bodies feel good whereas stress causes us to tense up and feel less that optimum. New scientific research shows just how important relaxing our bodies and minds is….
“The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. Remember that. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. You pick the smallest manageable part of the big thing, and you work off the resonance.” —Richard Price
Action words “A French research team found that action words (kicked, stomped, raced) fire up the motor cortex, which governs how the body moves. Even more specific, describing body parts, such as an arm or a leg, activates the part of the brain that controls arm and leg movement. Using evocative language also wakes up a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which activates long-term memories and plays a significant role in how a reader’s mind turns language into a meaningful experience.” Writer’s Digest, Sept. 2016 And that’s why it’s important to use strong verbs. Make a list of strong verbs and action words. Keep your list handy. Use it like a thesaurus when you are stumbling for that strong verb that’s on the tip of your tongue, within your grasp, but not quite accessible. Or, use a thesaurus. To learn more about using strong words to convey emotion, action and…
Write about a practical joke you pulled off, or a practical joke that was played on you. “A practical joke is a mischievous trick played on someone, generally causing the victim to experience embarrassment, perplexity, confusion or discomfort.” Wikipedia
Today’s writing prompt: It was fun, until it wasn’t.
“Readers covet an emotional experience above all else. When you write scenes, use all the methods you can to help your readers feel the emotions you want them to have—sadness, anger, confusion, mistrust, love, lust, envy, greed and so on. If you want readers to hate your character, show him being despicable to someone who doesn’t deserve his wrath or to someone he supposedly loves. The more you draw readers in to the emotional experience, the more they will engage, and the more likely they’ll want to read your next book.” Excerpted from the September 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine There are over 300 prompts on The Write Spot Blog. Choose one and practice incorporating emotions in your writing. For example: Physical gestures can reveal emotions . . . Prompt # 211 Just write!