Carol Brennan King December 2, 2020

Assignments: Creative Writing – write a piece for one of the Chicken Soup Books (see URL below) to be published. Memoir Writing – you may choose to write something for the Chicken Soup series or choose one of the following three:

  1. Write a scene where you’re in a restaurant or cafe you love having your favorite meal with a friend or loved one.
  2. Write about a time you felt you were in danger – either emotional or physical danger. Write about your own vulnerability, anger, or the adrenalin you felt.
  3. Write about the time you first realized you were in love – or the first time you were lonely. Write fearlessly.

Look here for Chicken Soup topics: https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

Creative Writing Notes

1. Only write one chapter at a time. Think about finishing the chapter you are working on, rather than allowing yourself to be overwhemled by the concept of a 50,000 word book. OR write and publish a novel, one chapter at a time, using Amazon Kindle Singles, Wattpad, or sharing with your email list subscribers.

2. Write a shorter book. The idea of writing a 500-page masterpiece can be paralyzing. Instead, write a short book of poems or stories. You can always string the stories into chapters for a book if they are related. Long projects are daunting. Start small.

3. Start a blog to get feedback early. Getting feedback early and often helps break up the overwhelming fear that can keep you from working. Start a website on WordPress or Tumblr and use it to write your book a chapter or scene at a time. Then eventually publish all the posts in a hardcopy book. This is a little different than traditional blogging, but the same concepts apply. Note that publishers don’t want to see more than 20% of a book already published. It becomes less saleable.

4. Keep an Inspiration List and Keep a Journal. You need these to keep fresh ideas flowing. Read constantly, and use a system to capture, organize and find the content you’ve curated. 1.  Use the inspiration list to keep

A column born in my journal!

prompts or ideas that you might explore or use later. 2. Keep a journal for exploring how you feel about your writing, for writing exploratory short pieces, paragraphs, poetry, even as a portable tool to chase what comes to you when it comes to you. Then, if and when you want to, rewrite the entries in a much more polished book format, and feel free to use some photocopies or scans of the journal pages as illustrations in the book if you use your journal as the backbone of another book.

6. Deliver consistently : Open your session with a quiet time to settle your mind – maybe try meditation. Then: Plan your writing sessions on a weekly basis, using both long and short sessions depending on your schedule. Release the pressure to write every day, but as much as possible, stick to the writing plan you devise.

Some days, it’s easy to write. Some days, it’s incredibly hard. The truth is: inspiration is merely a byproduct of your hard work. You can’t wait for inspiration. The Muse is really an out-of-work bum who won’t move until you do. Show her who’s boss and that you mean business.

7. Take frequent breaks. Niel Fiore, the author of The Now Habit, says, “There is one main reason why we procrastinate: It rewards us with temporary relief from stress.” If you’re constantly stressed about your unfinished book, you’ll end up breaking your schedule. Instead, plan for breaks ahead of time so you stay fresh: minute breaks, hour breaks, or even multiple day breaks. See above.

8. Remove distractions. Write them down as they come to you, with a commitment to deal with them later if you still see them as important.

Try tools like Neo 3, Bear or Scrivener to let you write in a totally distraction-free environment. That way, email, Facebook, and Twitter won’t interrupt your flow.

9. Write where others are writing (or working). If you’re having trouble writing consistently by yourself, write where other people are also working. A coffee shop or library where people are actually working and not just socializing can help. If you’re in a place where other people are getting things done, then you’ll have no choice but to join them.

10. Don’t edit as you go. Instead, write without judgment first, then go back and edit later. You’ll keep a better flow and won’t be interrupted by constant criticism of your own work. And you’ll have a lot more writing to edit when it’s time to do so.

Memoir Writing

  1. Interior Monologue: It is as though the memoirist is writing down his or her thoughts as they arrive with out fear of any kind pf judgment. It as very intimate because the reader is sitting on the writer’s shoulder as the unfiltered words go from brain to paper.
  2. Dramatic Monologue: Here the memoirist is speaking or telling the story to the reader as he or she draws the reader into her narrative.
  3. Epistolary Form: think letter or email or even text message format. The writer is giving us the letters he/she wrote and maybe the return correspondence. It is rather like reading through a pile of letters you found, only you as the writer must arranged them in a fashion to draw the reader into the story and to make you care about the writers.
  4. Diary Entries: the book is written as if it is a diary and we see the writer record his or her responses to the events occurring. Again, there is a responsibility on the writer to write the story so that the reader is drawn into it and cares about what is happening.
  5. Detached Autobiography: The writer is writing about what she or he lived through, but is mature enough now to tell the story without all the emotion of the moment. This dopes not preclude writing about emotional moments, but the story is written so the reader feels they have the whole truth, not one slanted by the writer. Other than, the writer is now in a place to recognize what she or he has gained.
  6. Observer memoir: the writer is an observer and another person dominates the story. Think about the child of a politician writing about life with her father.

For more, check out: https://www.writerswrite.co.za/the-truth-about-memoirs-six-ways-to-write-a-memoir/

We had a great day Wednesday, and I look forward to seeing you next Wednesday with some good work – remember early drafts – not necessarily ready to mail out yet.

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