Journey Of Memoir: The Three Stages Of Memoir Writing by Linda Joy MyersJourney Of Memoir: The Three Stages Of Memoir Writing by Linda Joy Myers

Journey Of Memoir: The Three Stages Of Memoir Writing

byLinda Joy Myers

Paperback | February 14, 2013

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A unique workbook from National Association of Memoir Writers founder Linda Joy Myers that offers the tools writers need to begin, develop, and complete a memoir, including lessons on how to write a great scene, timeline and turning point exercises to help create structure, and much more.
Linda Joy Myers is founder and president of the National Association of Memoir Writers (namw.org) and co-president of the Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco. A national memoir speaker and coach, she's the author of The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story. She co-teaches the programWrite your Memoir in Six Mont...
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Title:Journey Of Memoir: The Three Stages Of Memoir WritingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 9.25 × 7.5 × 0.46 inPublished:February 14, 2013Publisher:She Writes PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1938314263

ISBN - 13:9781938314261

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

A Note to Memoirists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Things You Need to Know About Memoir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

The Three Stages of Memoir Writing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

What is a Memoir and Why Write One? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Who’s Your Audience? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Scenes: Building Blocks for Your Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Why You Need to Write Scenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Stage One: Kick-Starting Your Memoir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Turning Points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Themes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Messy First Chapters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

How Much Truth to Tell: The Memoirist’s Dilemma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Mining Your Memories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Creating Your Memory Lists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Your Timeline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Making Your Timeline Exercise Work for You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Emotional Takeaway and Setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

Freewriting, Outlining, and Character Sketching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

Freewriting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

Outlining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45

Character Sketching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

End of Stage One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Stage Two: The Muddy Middle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65

The Critical Voices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67

The Nasty Inner Critic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

The Nice Inner Critic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72

Outer Critics: Worries about Family and Truth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74

Your Healing Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76

Writing to Heal Trauma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76

A Sacred, Safe Space to Create . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81

Dead or Alive, Truth or Lie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

Secrets, Lies, and Shame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

Affirmations—Antidotes to the Inner Critic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

Truth and Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

Procrastination and Time Bandits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

Scheduling Your Writing Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

Plot and Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104

Working with Your Narrative Arc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106

Time in Memoir Writing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110

End of the Muddy Middle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

Stage Three: Birthing Your Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117

Revision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118

Improving Characterization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118

Legal and Ethical Issues in Your Memoir as You Get Ready

for Publication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120

Changing Names to Protect the Innocent and the Guilty . . . . . . . . . . . .120

Disclaimers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120

People in Your Book—Inform Them or Ask Permission? . . . . . . . . . . . .122

More Legal Terms: Public Disclosure of Private Facts and Libel . . . . .125

Peer Readers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126

Types of Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .127

Choosing an Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128

Platform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128

Blog/Website . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .129

Social Media—an Always Shifting World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

Three Paths to Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137

Publishing in Large Publishing Houses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137

Publishing with Small Publishers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145

Self-Publishing with Your Own Publishing Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145

Self-Publishing with Self-Publishing Companies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .146

Your Book Out in the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

Blog Tours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .147

Social Media Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .149

Bookstores . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .148

Speaking Engagements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151

Oh, and Have Fun, Too! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .153

The End of Stage Three . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153

Writing Inspirations: The Arc of Your Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .155

Births and Deaths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156

Early Childhood and Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160

Roots and Legacies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .164

Fathers and Mothers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .168

House and Landscape as Mirrors of Soul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .172

Love, Marriage, and Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .178

Seasons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180

Holidays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184

Legacies and Reflections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188

Forgiveness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .192

Gratitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .196

Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .201

About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

Editorial Reviews

“Memoir guru Linda Joy Myers packs a lot into this useful manual. This is more than a workbook full of exercises and prompts—it’s a guide from a veteran who understands the complexity of the memoir journey. If you’re writing a memoir, this workbook will become your new best friend.” —Brooke Warner, author of What’s Your Book? “This helpful workbook is crammed with practical advice, thought-provoking questions, resources, and space to jot down ideas. Linda Joy Myers has created a toolkit any writer can use to successfully write, refine, and publish a memoir. I only wish I’d had it when I was writing mine.” —Eleanor Vincent, author of Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story “Myers has written the definitive guide on how to transform your life journey into a powerful, well-structured, memorable story that will touch readers. For the beginner or the seasoned writer, Journey of Memoir is destined to become a classic.” —Jordan E. Rosenfeld, author of Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time “It’s about time someone wrote a real guide for memoirists of all levels. A must-read for anyone who has ever wanted to write their life story but didn’t know where to begin. Concise, simple, and highly effective.” —Oksana Marafioti, author of American Gypsy