Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Begin Recording Your Life Story Part 3: Tips on Editing and Publishing, Prizes

Sharing Your Stories

When most of us write, we want to convey more than the details of our lives. 
We want to convey the meaning of our lives and the lives of those around us
.---Susan Carol Hauser, You Can Write a Memoir


Let’s fast forward to the time when you have completed your first draft of your memoir. If you are recording it as  an audio or video file, this is the time to check for clear sound and well-lighted video. If you used slides for your presentation, be sure they are in sync with your narration.

Whether writing or recording your life story, you will need to check the following:
Is each story as clear and as well organized as you can possibly make it? Do you have the facts, the descriptions, etc., in the right order for clarity?
 Do you have “over-used words”?  Use Roget's Thesaurus of the English Language or a thesaurus online to help you find different words to use.  
 Do your stories need cutting?  Eliminate wordy paragraphs by not repeating the information over and over and over and over…..
Write/speak in the active not passive voice.
Have you clearly identified every relative you mention?
Have you told enough about your characters for your readers to be able to see and understand them?  Use clear descriptions of the characters and scenes. Include small details    
Did you SHOW rather than tell your story?
For Written pages check to be sure:
All paragraphs should deal with the main idea.
Are sentences complete?  Are transitions smooth?  Do pronouns agree?
Did you check your spelling? Even a spell checker will okay “to” because it is spelled correctly, but you may mean “too” in the sentence.  How about their and there or hear and here?  Use your dictionary or a dictionary online to check spelling.
Did you check punctuation?  Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!!  Did you remember to use question marks at the end of a question?  And use commas sparingly. Check out Jodie Renner's blog post on the Kill Zone blog for punctuating dialogue.

Find someone you trust to read over the story and check all of the above.
--adapted from How to Write Your Own Life Story by Lois Daniel

I must caution you to remember this will be read now and in the future (perhaps e-books or some other device not even created yet). People not even born yet will be reading your story. You want to present the best story you can so that means revising, editing, and revisiting the story several times to polish it.

I realize these stories are very personal. Some of you may not be ready to reveal all your life experiences, let alone share, some of the painful stories in your life. Then do not write them. When you feel you can handle letting go of the story, then do it. Don’t feel you HAVE to write everything.

Above all, I believe when writing a memoir/life story, the writer must tell the truth at all times. For if the truth is not told, what is the point in writing the story? So, don't write it till the truth can be told throughout the entire story. Then when you are ready, let it go, and discover the story from your own perspective at this time rather than when the experience occurred. 
# # # #
Exercise: Write a letter to your ten-year-old self. What advice would you give her now after getting years of life experience under your belt? Do you understand now why people in your life acted the way they did? Do you know why you didn't get to go on the vacation your parents promised? Explore your feelings and don't just give the facts of where you lived and what your favorite songs were.

If you decide to publish your memoir, I have listed some places for you to submit. Things change quickly in the publishing business, so google “memoir publishers” or “life story publishers” to keep up-to-date.

Six-Word Memoirs

Bookmaking—Blurb Books

·         Memoir Writing Sites

Write a memoir using only six words. This is a challenging, but fun, exercise for you. Click on the link to give you some ideas. 
When it’s polished, submit to the magazine. Feel free to share it in the comments section below. I'll send you a prize if you do!!

Thanks for stopping in.  If you have questions, please ask.


J.Q. Rose said...

Last night at the weekly Writers Chatroom, Jodie Renner actually visited and gave us more insight on punctuation and adding "beats" to your dialogue. Very helpful to all of us. Thanks, Jodie. Readers, you're invited to the join us to chat every Wed night from 8 pm-10 pm EDT at Click the enter chatroom link. You do not need a password to enter.

Anonymous said...

Great information. Thanks for the links.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Susanne. Hope you will find them helpful. Thanks for stopping by.

Miss Mae said...

I think if I wrote a letter to my ten-year-old self, I'd say, "Stop being stupid!"

But what does one say to yourself if you can go back and do it? And we probably still wouldn't listen. LOL

(and I'd still be stupid, LOL)

J.Q. Rose said...

Helena, thanks so much for the link to the article. Excellent advice and inspiration for this series. I will include it in the July 10 edition. Looks like the magazine has a lot of inspiration and information for women writers.

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