Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Continuing on a theme: week of June 1 and beyond

Okay, so I have been in a real quandary lately about how to continue between notes here on the blog, assignments, and possible guest speakers.  Feedback from the members in class seems to indicate a desire for more information on how to finish a book, either for publication or for one's family.  There's a whole lot of advice on that, which I can reference at a later time, but it basically comes down to two points:
  • Make a list of the stories that you want to tell
    • You can start with the most compelling one, list 5 more you want to write, and move forward (per the advice of Linda Joy, president of the National Association of Memoir Writers).
    • You could make a list of 100 stories you want to tell (per Sharon Lippincott in The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing).
    • You could identify the basic plot points of most books and work from there, filling in with your own memories (an adaptation of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat approach).
    • You could start from your concept and work through an outline to a gradual filling in (per Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake method which can be adapted for memoir if one is creative enough).
  • Sit down and write them (by whatever means necessary).
    • You can set aside time.
    • You can set aside a page/word limit.
    • You can use a maximization approach (as suggested last week on this blog).
But really there's not much more to say here.  What I feel I can contribute, though, is the way our archetypes--the characters and plotlines we know as a culture--can help us in writing our own stories either as an ordering principal of an entire manuscript or as single pieces.  I haven't really seen this approach detailed anywhere, and I have been using it a bit.

So, to begin exploring that option, because I always feel one should start with research, I looked at Writer's Digest's some of the top publishing companies and their list of fiction genres.  This is the list of genres that were common across several of the groups:

  • Action & Adventure 
  • Classics 
  • Comics & Graphic Novels 
  • Contemporary 
  • Fairy Tales, Folklore, Allegory, & Mythology 
  • Fantasy 
  • Historical 
  • Humor 
  • Literary 
  • Movie or Television Tie-In 
  • Mystery & Detective 
  • Occult/Ghost/Paranormal 
  • Political 
  • Psychological 
  • Religious 
  • Romance 
  • Science Fiction 
  • Short Stories 
  • Suspense 
  • That which appeals to a certain religious, cultural, or ethnic group—Christian, LGBT, Jewish, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, multicultural 
  • Thrillers 
  • Westerns
My plan, starting Friday, is to pick one every week and give a few ideas how you might use these genres to start a story and then another post on Tuesdays (hopefully *crosses fingers*) to give some extra ideas about how the finer aspects of the genre might relate to your memoir.

Happy writing, and thanks for your patience!

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