Thursday, April 15, 2010

Memory is Your Memoir

This past weekend I attended the annual Literary Orange 2010 at UCI, a conference that “celebrates authors, readers and libraries.” I sat in on the memoir writing session and heard from some of the experts. One of the panelists suggested “framing two stories at the same time in your memoir to move the story forward.” They all agreed that at the end of a memoir it must teach the reader something, however, the memoir can’t be written in a “preachy style.”

Author Norman Ollestad said that when he wrote, “Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival,” he wrote the draft in chronological order, then went back in and did some intercutting, reflecting on his experience. Also one said that when writing a memoir, it’s also a good idea to take a screenwriting course – it helps with creating scenes. Another suggested reading “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion. I have read it – excellent writing.

Also at Literary Orange I purchased the book, “Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America – and Found Unexpected Peace.” The author, William Lobdell, is a former Los Angeles Times reporter. I just started reading this book and it’s so good I can’t put it down. (Oops, I think I’m supposed to be writing my own book.) I especially like it because I know some of the people who are in it and of course it’s great to read a book that is set in your own backyard – Orange County. This is an excellent memoir.

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