memoir

The Internet: A Writer's Worst Distraction

The Internet: A Writer’s Worst Distraction

Sometimes the deeper we get into our story, the more we seek distraction. The internet will suck the life out of any writer. It will turn the most disciplined among us into bug-eyed addicts. Not only...
What is Success?

What is Success?

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates Years ago, I was on the phone with a prospective student, and he announced, “I will consider myself a failure if my book does not become a...
The Imperative for Dramatic Conflict

The Imperative for Dramatic Conflict

A director told me once that if you put two actors together in a scene without directing them or staging the scene, the conflict would begin to diminish. If the actors were on opposite sides of the...
Home

Finding Home

“Home is where one starts from.” – T. S. Eliot There’s nothing more primal than our quest for home. The dilemma is that our childhood homes may have been confusing, chaotic, or even violent...
No Good Guys, No Bad Guys

No Good Guys, No Bad Guys

There are times, as storytellers, when we can be so bull-headed about what we want to express, that we end up pushing an agenda rather than telling a story.  We create “good guys and bad...
Writing the Reluctant Protagonist

Writing the Reluctant Protagonist

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”- Ernest Hemingway Allow the Protagonist to Feel Reluctance No one likes change. The unknown is scary. The end...
Memoir: Mastering the Impossible

Memoir: Mastering the Impossible

“While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.” – Helen Keller The purpose of art is to illuminate the possibility for transformation. The goal of memoir is to make the...
The Writers Place

The Writer’s Place

“Where did that come from?” I believe there is something we writers are collectively seeking. We are all attempting to convey an experience, a true moment, to tell a story that somehow...
Setting Up the Argument

Story is an Argument

(Image from “Big” 1988) Story is an argument. The theme (or dramatic question) is the thesis statement, and the story is the argument played out. Any argument requires opposing forces...
Dealing with Fear

First-Time Novelists: Dealing with Fear

Many authors share a similar fear: “What will people think?” It looks slightly different for each writer. What will my parents think when they find out I have these thoughts? What will my friends...
Hold Your Story Loosely

Hold the Story Loosely

Our idea of the story is never the whole story. The act of writing a novel, memoir, or screenplay is a way of developing a coherent narrative for something that began as a simple idea or image. We are...
What Does it Mean?

What Does it Mean?

Everyone has a story. It takes courage to tell it, be it memoir or fiction, because there comes a point where we must separate the facts from the truth. The challenge for the storyteller lies in...
Choose Love

Choose Love

In every story, love is the mystery that is always on the table. In the beginning of your story, the question may appear to be a choice between loving and not loving. But perhaps you have already...
Passion

Passion

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein What do you feel passionate about? What is your position on justice, authenticity, self-authority, the need for...
The Inner Critic

The Inner Critic

“Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”– Howard Thurman There’s a difference between...
Hope

Hope

Have you ever seen a dog waiting for their master at a window — their wet nose pressed against the glass, eyes watching the street expectantly for any sign of their beloved guardian? It’s sort of...
Exploring Your Protagonist's Dilemma

Exploring Your Protagonist’s Dilemma

(Image from The Hunger Games, 2012) “The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.” –  George Bernard Shaw...
The True Nature of Our Characters

Dramatizing Character

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin Good writing is a synthesis of ideas and instincts working in concert. Letting...

MENU