Sunday, October 21, 2007

Writing about Place -- Listing Exercise

For this exercise, you will not write in complete sentences. You will make lists. Lists help us think in different ways, and can inspire us to remember more about place as we write. You will dig deep into one specific memory, and trick your memory to reveal more than you thought it could.

Step 1: List emotions that are strong to you.

Step 2: Circle one of those emotions to focus on for this exercise.

Step 3: List moments (of an hour or less) when you experienced that strong emotion.

Step 4: Circle one of those moments.

Step 5: Who was with you? Make a list of the people who where there.

Step 6: What did you hear? Make a list of the sounds you heard.

Step 7: What was in the space? Make a list of the objects that were there.

Step 8. What did you touch? What did you feel with your hands, with your body, with your skin? Make a list.

Step 9: What did you taste? Make a list of what you tasted, or what could have been possible for you to taste.

Step 10: What did you smell? Make a list of all the smells that would have been possible.

Step 11: What did people say? Make a list of topics of conversation, or even lines you remember.

Step 12: Finally, now you can write a plot outline of what happened.

After you have finished the 12 steps, now you can start writing your story, but make sure you look back at your notes so that you get all 5 senses in there, and you give us a sense of a specific place and a specific moment in time. Go for concrete so that when you get to the abstract, the reader feels grounded enough to fly with you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Final Assignments

Memoir Writing
Fall 2007


Turn in a book review of the memoir you chose to read. You will do a 3-5 minute presentation about your book to the class. Post your review to the blog.


By now, you'll have written 3 pieces. You'll have received feedback and revised. Now it's time to polish for publication.

Turn in your portfolios for final grading Nov 10th (at the beginning of the Writing Marathon) if you are turning in hard copies. Post all your final versions to your blog by Nov 11th at 5 pm. Please put "final version" in the title line of your blog posts so we know which ones you want us to grade. You do not need to turn in hard copies. You may simply post to your own blog. Please put a note on the one you would like to appear in our class anthology.


Pick one of your three pieces to submit for publication. You can chose where you submit, but please post to your blog an explanation of what you decided to submit, where you submitted it, and why you chose that publication. This posting should be completed by Nov 14th (last class).


After you’ve completed your portfolio, look back at all you have written for this class, informally and formally. Please post to your blog a response to the question: What have you learned?


Dinner, discussion, sharing anthologies.

Memoir Assignment 3


For this memoir piece, you will create a story in which place (or setting) plays a major role. To help you write this piece:

• Read the chapter in Fact and Artifact on “Writing about Place.”
• Read the following essays in the book In Brief as examples of stories that use place in significant ways: “Dream Houses,” “Sink or Swim,” “Low Tide at Four,” and/or “Infectious Reading.”
• Post a draft to your blog for comments by October 31st.
• Comment on your classmates’ blogs. We will only have one time to meet with your writing group before this paper is due. Use the blogs to help each other. Make substantial comments that will help others’ improve their writing. Commenting on others’ blogs is part of your participation grade.
• Bring 4-5 copies of your draft for your writing response group on November 7th.
• Final draft of this paper with the final versions of your two other memoir pieces will be due November 10th. if you’re turning in two hard copies or by Nov 11th to the blog. Please put “final versions” in the title of the versions you want us to grade.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Memoir Piece 2 Assignment


Memoir Piece 2
Memoir Institute

In this memoir piece, you will write about someone in your life, someone who has had an impact on you.

To prepare to write the piece:

• Read the chapter on “Writing about People” in FACT AND ARTIFACT
• For examples of what we are looking for, read from IN BRIEF: “Come Eat,” “A Missing Star,” “Good Workers,” “Twigs,” and/or “A Sense of Wonder.”
• Meet with your response group
• Post to your blog for comments

Due Wednesday, October 10th.

Publishing Short Memoir

Anthologies Currently Accepting Submissions

Chicken Soup for the Soul Series

* List of Upcoming Books
* Story Guidelines
* Submission page

Cup of Comfort Series

* Introduction (explanation of who we are and what we are doing)
* Call for Submissions

The Hero Story Series

* Hero series call for submissions


Submit 10,000 words or fewer by email or snail mail: only one submission per person. Deadline October 31, 2007.
$500 Prize and publication in our Fall Issue. Click here to read more.

WOW! - Women on Writing. FALL 2007 ESSAY WRITING CONTEST

WOW! hosts a (quarterly) writing contest every three months. The mission of this contest is to inspire creativity, communication, and well-rewarded recognition to contestants. The contest is open globally; age is of no matter; and entries must be in English. We are open to all styles of writing, although we do encourage you to take a close look at our guest judge for the season and the flavor of our sponsor, if you are serious about winning. We love creativity, originality, and light-hearted reads. That's not to say that our guest judge will feel the same... so go wild! Express yourself, and most of all, let's have some fun!


Maximum: 1200

Minimum: 800

The title is not to be counted in your word count. We use MS Word's word count to determine the submitted entry's word count.


Describe a time in your life when you overheard a conversation, or found a lucky item on the ground (coin, jewelry, other), or discovered something that wasn’t intended for your eyes (mail, letter, photos, or other). Write about this “chance” event and describe what it brought to you: good or bad luck, serendipity, a missed opportunity, or karma. This is a nonfiction essay, but be descriptive enough so your readers can see the event through your eyes.

Story slant: Geared toward women readers, light-hearted to funny, imaginative, creative—you get it--*original*.

THIS IS INTENDED ONLY TO SPARK YOUR CREATIVITY. STORIES MUST BE ABOUT LUCK (GOOD OR BAD), SERENDIPITY, A MISSED OPPORTUNITY, OR KARMA. Only stories that have the Prompt incorporated in them will be accepted. You may do this any creative way you would like, just make sure anyone would know you wrote your story specifically for this contest.


FALL: September - November 30th Midnight (Pacific Time) – NOW OPEN! For more information, click here.

Literary Magazines

* Fourth Genre
* Memoir Journal

How to Find Markets

* The Writer's Market


* Writer's Digest Contests

Monday, October 1, 2007

Blog Post for Wed 10/3/07

To Write about Annie Dillard:

"The best memoirs, I think, forge their own forms. The writer of any
work, and particularly any nonfiction work, must decide two crucial
points: what to put in and what to leave out" (41).

According to Annie Dillard in "To Fashion a Text", she decided what to
put in -her parents, Pittsburgh's history - and what would not find its
way in - her summer in Wyoming, previous gentlemen callers. She was able
to divorce her nostalgia with her childhood in order to create a piece
of literary nonfiction.

1. Thinking of memoirs you've read or are currently reading - do you
notice the authors deliberately piecing together a life or including
every memory for memory's sake? In other words, have they been willing
to "cannibalize their own lives for parts"?

2. [follow up] Are you willing to cannibalize your life for parts? If
so, did you attempt that in your first piece or in a draft of your
second piece? How hard is that?

In "Lifting the Veil", Gates offers some advice to memoir writers: "be
prepared for the revelation of things you don't even dream are going to
come up" (148).

1. Can you comment on this advice in relation to your own writing?
If so, when you have "lifted the veil", what revelations, insights,
truths, epiphanies.....have you discovered? Elaborate.

To Write about Stephen King:

To write about the Stephen King book, On Writing, I would like for you to explore what he says about seeing yourself as a writer and changing your action and spaces to reflect your perception of yourself. Write about these:

1. Do you call yourself a "writer?" Why or why not?
2. Do you have time set aside, like King suggests, to write every day? Or at least regularly? Why does he say you need to write every day? Do you agree with him or not?
3. King says we all need a space devoted to writing -- where we can shut the door. Why does he think we need this space? Do you have it? Where? And do you agree with what he says about it?

Click on "comments" and copy/paste your comment into the editing window. Hit "publish" and you are done!