Write Your Story Even if You Can’t Write

The View from the SummitRecently I’ve been working with a 90-year-old woman on her memoirs. If you just glanced at the small, frail woman, you would never guess what she’s seen, where she’s been or what she’s accomplished in her life. Like most older people, she doesn’t carry a sign saying who she is, and those who don’t look beneath the aging face miss a lot.

To add to the complexity, she’s always been dyslexic. Like most differently abled children of her time, she didn’t get any support or sympathy for her difficulty with learning, or even a diagnosis that she could understand. She was labeled “stupid” for a large part of her early life. Because of that, she has a decidedly low confidence in her ability to write.

So how did she start working on her memoirs? Continue reading “Write Your Story Even if You Can’t Write”

When a Novelist Writes Non-Fiction

Marcia Gates Angel of BataanRecently our own Big Al wrote a post about non-fiction and how it is largely missing in the annals of IU. True enough, most of our emphasis here is on fiction. Some of us, however, have waded into the cool waters of non-fiction, and I for one found the experience totally different than crafting a novel.

One thing I’ve learned is that fiction and non-fiction have very different roles. Broadly speaking, fiction’s purpose is to provide entertainment while non-fiction’s purpose is to provide information. These two things are not mutually exclusive, of course. If you read the novel Congo, you no doubt learned quite a bit about extracting data from digital video. By the same token, a non-fiction book like American Sniper is certainly entertaining in a dramatic, thought-provoking way.

Non-fiction, like fiction, can be broken down into several sub-genres. Continue reading “When a Novelist Writes Non-Fiction”

Ramifications of Writing a Tell-All

Brenda PerlinGuest Post
by Brenda Perlin

Writing fiction is hard. Writing fiction that is not really fiction is even more difficult. In my case, I wrote a story that is 100% from real life and hoped I could avoid being sued by changing the names. Possibly getting sued felt to be my biggest hurdle, but what I learned was that was the least of my concern.

After my book Shattered Reality (formerly known as Home Wrecker) was released, I had to confront the issue that many people were not going to be pleased with me or my story. What did I expect with such a title? There was judgment, criticism, and plenty of hatred spewed my way. Part of that disdain was from friends and family members. When you write a story about your life and go as far as to have it published for all to read, there are going to be some pretty unhappy people. Continue reading “Ramifications of Writing a Tell-All”

A Gift to Give: Writing Your Memoir

Guest Post
by Alastair Henry

Writing a memoir should be on every boomer’s bucket list

The most endearing and enduring legacy you can leave your family is you – your story. And anyone can do it. All it takes is time. You don’t need money. The form that your memoir takes can vary widely: from just a stack of notes, or in a story format if you, your child or grandchild want to convert your notes into a memoir, or even a simple digital recording of you reminiscing about your life.

Imagine how thrilling it would be if you could read, in their own words, what your great, great grandparents had to say about their life – the way the world was back in say 1860; how they lived: what they did, believed in, and what they hoped for the future. Conversely, imagine how meaningful it would be for your great, great, grandchildren to read your words a hundred years from now telling them about your life. Continue reading “A Gift to Give: Writing Your Memoir”