Saturday, July 7, 2012

WRITING MEMOIR, REVISING, REWRITING



This holiday week has been full of fun and work. Seeing old friends, talking with family, meeting new friends, and eating hot dogs and hamburgers.

The work came when a dear student of mine brought over dinner and her memoir manuscript she has been working on for three years.  She admitted she was shocked when she discovered the time and effort needed after all the words were on paper.
"I don't think I would have started this if I had known how much work it takes to get it published,” she said. But she has been bitten by the writing bug and is already planning future writing.

We spent hours Friday proofing and revising parts of just three chapters. She admits she did not really “hear” me when I said in class that revision is a big part of writing.
She had no idea that parts of her manuscript would have to be cut, rearranged or rewritten. She did hear me when I said she should hire a professional editor if she wanted to self-publish and her book to be the best it could be. She has an excellent editor, I think. The hardest part of working with an editor is accepting revisions that smooth out the writing, but leave out parts the writer feels were essential to her story. Maybe it would be helpful to remember that major authors of Best Selling Books are happy to have good editors who can improve on the way their words are written on the page.

I tell my students their memoir should inform, enlighten and entertain their readers. We want our readers to learn about us, about our situation or experience. We also want them to be enlightened – perhaps see something in a different light -- and I believe this author’s book will do that. Her editor likes the book and sees its worth and wants to keep the author’s voice intact. The book is entertaining. Humor, pathos, and outrage, flow throughout the pages, mixed in with the innocence lost as she meets with challenges she never expected to encounter.

A universal theme in this book is overcoming adversity and also the realization that no matter how things change they always seem to stay the same.

What started as a simple batch of stories about this writer’s life, has now become a full-blown 60,000-word manuscript. All this from someone who had never thought of writing a book until she began taking writing classes and devoting herself to writing.

If one wants to write, he/she should begin taking classes and keeping a journal. Write in that journal as often as possible. If not in a journal, start a morning practice of writing a few pages every day. Discipline is needed to begin a habit. Once the habit is begun it will be second nature to write whenever and wherever possible.


Click here to see a schedule of writing classes where you might want to begin.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You will not see your comment immediately. All messages will be moderated before being published. This is to keep down Spam. We want to hear what you think, so please leave a comment.