Just Write

How to turn memoir into fiction

What if you have written your memoir, or are in the process, and it just isn’t working? What to do? You might decide to publish your work as fiction based on fact, rather than memoir. Adair Lara’s article might be helpful: “10 Ways to Tell if Your Story Should be a Memoir or a Novel” in the January 23, 2012 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. You can use prompts on The Write Spot Blog for inspiration, especially, “Make a list of pivotal events, Prompt #40” and “How to write fiction based on fact,” Prompt #41.” If you don’t want to write about what happened exactly as it happened, you can use the emotions you felt during the event. Tap into those emotions to write strong scenes. Sometimes it’s helpful to see examples of ideas you want to pursue. The following novels are based on fact. Half-Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls,…

Book Reviews

By Grace by Arletta Dawdy

By Grace – Reviewed by Marlene Cullen Extraordinary writing by Arletta Dawdy who must have done a ton of research for this entertaining story containing so much factual detail I feel as if I took this trip alongside heroine Grace Pelham. Arletta tells a compelling story in the best story-teller tradition. I was mesmerized and couldn’t wait to find out what happens next. Arletta holds up her end of the author-reader bargain, taking me out of my world and into the world of Grace Pelham, filled with intriguing characters, gorgeous landscape, creativity and human scoundrels as well as kindness. Arletta brings these fully dimensional characters to life in her unique way. Her writing is absolutely exquisite and dazzling. I’m not the only one who finds Arletta’s writing creative and delightful. From the back cover: “A good book also has characters that intrigue and change and in the midst of the…

Places to submit

AGNI accepts fiction, nonfiction, poetry, interviews.

AGNI Magazine accepts fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and interviews for their print and online literary magazines. “We see literature and the arts as part of a broad, ongoing cultural conversation that every society needs to remain vibrant and alive. Our writers and artists hold a mirror up to nature, mankind, the world; they courageously reflect their age, for better or worse; and their work provokes perceptions and thoughts that help us understand and respond to our age. Literature for literature’s sake is not what AGNI is about.” Submission period: Between September 1st and May 31st. Payment: $10 per printed (or printed-out) page for all accepted prose, $20 per page for poetry, $150 maximum, along with a year’s subscription, and, for the print magazine, two contributor’s copies and four gift copies of the issue. Be sure to read all details regarding submissions. It would be a shame to miss out on being published due to a…


Use photos to inspire your writing. Prompt #206

You can use photos as writing prompts. Choose one of your photos, or a photo you remember and write about it. First, look at the photo (if you can). Write all the details that you see. Write about what happened before and after the photo was taken. Write about your feelings connected with this photo. Photos might remind you about activities, important occasions and details that you may have forgotten. Did Great-grandpa always wear a hat? What was his first car? Where did he work? Siblings. What did Grandma think as her son went off to war? What did his sisters think? Did they send him off with special remembrances from home? Did they listen to every radio broadcast about the war? Did they watch events play out on television? Are there any letters from that era? Grandma’s graduation day photo doesn’t look like today’s graduation photos. What were Grandma’s plans…

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Genevieve V. Georget

Genevieve V. Georget graciously gave me permission to re-post her October 5, 2015 Facebook post. The response to her post was surreal: Over 250,000 likes and 143,000 shares. Genevieve’s post  is an excellent example of extraordinary writing that touches the heart. Guest Blogger Genevieve V. Georget: It was a Wednesday afternoon when I walked into Starbucks that day nearly six years ago. I stood at the bar, waiting for my drink, when the barista politely asked me what I was up to that day. As it turns out, I was en route to the airport at that moment…about to catch a flight to Italy with my husband. After a brief minute of chatting, the barista handed me my coffee and wished me a nice trip. “But then again”, she said “why wouldn’t you…your life is golden!” I’ll admit…the gold star was nice. But at the same time, the words knocked…

Just Write

How to Write A Memoir— Part Two

How To Write A Memoir, Part 1 lists a variety of methods for writing personal stories. Part 2 continues with revision and the business of writing. Take care of yourself Writing one’s life story can be difficult. While writing, take good care of yourself. Anytime you are feeling overwhelmed by this writing process, set your work aside. Take a break, get some fresh air, visit with a friend. Read helpful, supportive material such as Toxic Mom’s Toolkit. Organize When editing, save your “cuts” in separate files (either paper file folders or on computer files). You might be able to use these darlings in another personal essay. Use manila file folders to store print material: newspaper articles, photos, handwritten notes, letters, brochures, etc. Revising In the revising stage, delete what might cause embarrassment. Fine tune for accuracy. Shape like a gardener pruning a hydrangea. Take a few snips here, cut a…

Just Write

How To Write A Memoir — Part One

Your Life. You lived it. Surely you can write about it. Right? In How To Write A Memoir, Part 1, we’ll discuss methods and ideas about writing personal stories, with links to published memoirs. How To Write A Memoir, Part 2, we’ll cover organizing, revising and more. You can write in chronological order, or build your story around pivotal events. In the beginning, it doesn’t matter what structure you use. Write in a style that is comfortable for you. Try one way and if isn’t working for you, try something else. Memoirs written in chronological order (with back story woven in): To Have Not by Frances Lefkowitz  and Grief Denied by Pauline Laurent. Rachael Herron, A Life in Stitches, assembles her stories around her knitting experiences. For the first draft, it’s fine to jump around in time. Don’t worry too much about making sense in the early stage of writing….

Book Reviews

Deep Doo Doo by Sheri Graves

Reviewed by Robin Moore Don’t be fooled by squawking geese. This is not a farm tale! Author Sheri Graves snagged this reader with her witty mystery Deep Doo Doo. It is one of those novels that is truly hard to put down. It moves along quickly and made me wonder what could possibly happen next to reporter Carrie McClelland. I highly recommend this novel! In fact, it has proven to be my favorite read this summer. Robin Moore has always enjoyed writing. After several years of working in elementary and middle schools, helping kids read and write, she is now able to devote her time to writing books for kids. She is editing novels she has written as part of the National Novel Writers Month organization. Reviewed by Christian Lane Bam. Fantastic. It’s pretty hard to read Deep Doo Doo in a month. It’s so catchy you’ll gobble it up…