A Life in Reflection: Memoir and Revision

            Hello, HarperCollins?  Are you there?  …I guess not. 
Reflection in Memoir is crucial.
            Time to rise from my knees, add reflection to my life, and revise.  It’s so easy to type, isn’t it?  So much harder to do.
            Writing is a career.  I need to remember this.  And like other careers, some tasks can be more difficult.  Revision.  More often than not, I understand narrative arc, characterization, and sense of place.  I know not to bog down my prose with too much detail.  [I try, I really try…]
            I know to hook the reader at the beginning of the story.  In medias res?  At least for my short stories, I do.  Build tension?  Definitely.  A ticking clock—whether age-related, as in my memoir about attending college with five children in tow, or literal—helps.  Each scene counts.  Everything used in story must be integral to the plot.  Always.
            It shouldn’t be “I, I, I”—even in memoir.  But how to break that cycle?  I’m a scene painter, but need to decide if each one is the right color for the memoir. 
I try to create flowing prose with varied sentence structure.  …Sometimes…I think.  Then again, I’m still in the market for a good critique partner.
            Knowing the rules of writing is one thing.  Doing all of them is another.  One at a time, comb the manuscript for potential errors.  Otherwise you’ll remain on your knees and fail to return to the computer.  No one said writing was easy.

            Do you have some revision tips to share?  Please leave a comment.  It is always greatly appreciated.  Happy Spring!  

13 thoughts on “A Life in Reflection: Memoir and Revision”

  1. Your post title attracted me because I'm currently in the process of writing a memoir. I've found in memoir as in fiction, going with my gut feelings about what works and what doesn't is my best guide. Then when I know something doesn't work I need to find out why, and that's when I go to my sources of information. If I try to write with the sources and how to books at my elbow it doesn't let me really get in tune with my inner feelings about story and characters. we wouldn't be writers if we didn't already have an innate sense about how to tell a story. That need is what drives us and we need to listen to our own gut feelings, our heart, and tell the story. And then of course practice practice practice. I wish right now I could triple the time each day I spend writing. I need to, to just get the time in, because it's writing itself that increases that sense of what's right and what works.

  2. Thank you so much, Karen, for this inspiring insight into writing. I really needed this and appreciate it greatly. I always appreciate your taking the time to visit Adventures in Writing and leaving comments. What is the focus of your memoir?

  3. I am looking for a critique partner as well and am in the revision stage. I find printing out sections and using the highlighter liberally to show where to add metaphor or to add senses helps. You can use post it notes to scribble parts needed and attach them to the side of the page.

    I"m not there yet though. Just heard this helps. 🙂

  4. Hello and welcome, Clarbojahn, to Adventures in Writing. These are wonderful tips. Thanks so much for sharing them. What genre are you writing? Perhaps we could contact each other to see if we would make good critique partners. Thanks again for stopping by Adventures in Writing and leaving a comment. It is greatly appreciated.

  5. When editing, Victoria, I read aloud to hear the sentence and I find that is the easiest was to catch wrong sentence structure etc.

  6. You are so right, Nas. I read aloud all the time. It's also good to listen to someone else read your work. Listen to where they trip up on the sentences. Listen to the voice. Thank you so much, Nas, for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and leaving a comment. It is greatly appreciated.

  7. Hello and welcome, Jean, to my Adventures in Writing blog. You are very welcome to any information here. Ask questions, if you'd like. Helping fellow writers is what blogging is for. Thanks for visiting. Please stop by again.


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