Tuesday Writing Tip – Turning Fact into Fiction

One of the fun things about being a storyteller is that you can change the way things really happened and turn a real event into a work of fiction. You have control of your story. You decide what happens,who it happens to and where it happens. Real people and events can provide great inspiration for fiction.

But having creative licence brings responsibility. You have to write with integrity. You don’t want to do things that will invade people’s privacy, you don’t want to upset them and you don’t want to get sued.

If you want to turn a true story into a work of fiction for whatever reason (like I did with Hope for Hanna), these are my tips on how you could do it:

  • Step away from the true story as much as you can. Try and sift the essential elements of what your story is about from the detail of what really happened.
  • Write down the main things (action points) that happen in the memoir/biography. Decide what’s important to you – what do you want to keep in your story?
  • Decide where your story is going to start and where it’s going to end – this could be different from what actually happened in real life.
  • Do a plot plan for your story with a beginning, a series of events leading to the climax (the high point of your story) and a conclusion tying all the threads together. Plot your story as you would a novel.
  • Decide which characters to include in the work of fiction. In a memoir there are usually lots of people mentioned because real life is full of encounters, but you can cut some of these out if you are writing fiction. It can get confusing if you have too many characters or too much happening.
  • Do a character profile for each person you want to include in your story, but make their background and details totally different from real life. Completely change names, places of residence, appearance, number of siblings, number of children, possibly even gender. Do what you can to make them unrecognisable in your story, whilst still being real people. It’s the essence of the people you want to capture in your story, not their detail.
  • Use these characters to create fictional things in your story and you can blend these with the true events.
  • Rework your plot outline to include true and fictional incidents you want to use. Perhaps change the order of events from what really happened.
  • Try and sum up in a paragraph what you want your story to be about. Leave out any incidents/action that is not related.
  • Get someone who knows you well to read your writing to make sure you have moved away enough from the true story.
  • Try and feel your story and allow it to take you in new directions. Don’t fight against these changes because they are not what actually happened.
  • Find the truth in your story in the power and complexity of your characters rather than the detail of actual events.

If you have any tips or experiences to share on how you have turned fact into fiction, please feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.

Our series of posts on point of view is coming up soon on this blog so stay tuned.

In the meantime, 

Happy writing:)

Dee

NEW WRITING TIPS ARTICLES AND BLOG BREAK

 

NEW WRITING TIPS 

Over the next few months I’m publishing a series of blog posts to help you polish your writing techniques.

They’ll be appearing on this blog EVERY TUESDAY (except blog break week.)

I’ll be covering things like where to start your story, where to get your ideas from, how to develop your characters, plotting, ending your story and editing.

I hope you find the tips helpful.

BLOG BREAK

As it’s the last full week of the month, I’m taking my blog break week to focus on writing.

So there won’t be any blog posts this week.

Sorry for any disappointment, but if you need a writing tips’ fix, Janice Hardy has a great blog at The Other Side of the Story and agent, Rachelle Gardner has great posts and discussions on being a writer/agent/publisher at her blog

Literary Rambles is another favourite of mine.

I hope you have a great writing week and if there are any topics you want raised on this blog, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section of this post.

Thanks and Happy Writing:)

Dee

Marianne Musgrove’s Terrific Writing Tips

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Marianne Musgrove back to DeeScribe Writing. Marianne has generously agreed to share some of her fabulous tips on writing.

Marianne Musgrove is an award winning author of such titles as The Worry Tree and Don’t Breathe a Word. She is also a descendant of King Henry VIII’s librarian so books are in her blood!

She is touring the blogosphere to celebrate the release of her latest book, The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge – a funny, moving tale of two teenagers who dabble in the art of revenge only to discover it may not be as sweet as they first imagined.

Making the Most of Metaphors – by Marianne Musgrove

Before I had a book contract, I had a dream one night that I was sitting in a publisher’s office. The publisher leaned forward and said, ‘So, Marianne, how much do you want this?’. My response was to remove my right arm and place it on the desk between us. Apparently, I was willing to give my right arm to be an author!

This dream goes to show how deep metaphors run in the psyche of we humans. They help us understand ourselves and others, and for this reason, metaphors are one of the most useful implements in a writer’s toolbox. Used well, they deepen the meaning of a simple story, exploring ideas, characters’ motives and feelings. Over-used, they render a story forced and awkward. Under-used, the story remains one-dimensional.

Tip 1: Consider the age of your audience

Children don’t develop the ability to understand concepts until around the age of twelve. For this reason, relying on metaphors to convey the meaning of your story will go over the heads of younger readers. While it’s great to use metaphors, make sure the plot stands on its own merit.

Tip 2: First person versus third person

If you’re writing your story in first person, the age of the character will determine the degree of sophistication of their metaphors. If your character is young and you’re keen to use complex images, consider writing in the third person. That said …

Tip 3: The exception to the rule

In my new book, The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge, I’ve used the metaphor of ANZAC Day to explore the themes of conflict, forgiveness, and letting go of the past. The story switches between the first person perspectives of two thirteen year olds, Romola and Sebastian. Even though these characters are unaware of the significance of the ANZAC Day metaphor, the reader is able to draw similarities between the ANZACs and the conflict in the private lives of the characters.

Tip 4: Less is more

I suffer from excessive metaphoritis. Once it comes time to edit, I comb through my manuscript and note how many metaphors I’ve use in any given scene, usually cutting back the number. Try not to have more than one per paragraph. Metaphors should support and enrich the story, not the other way round.

Tip 5: Keeping track

After the first draft, I get out my coloured post-it notes and assign a different colour for each major metaphor. I stick the relevant post-it on the corresponding plot card wherever I’ve mentioned said metaphor. The post-its give me a sense of how spaced out the references are. If there’re all grouped together at the beginning, I revisit the manuscript and amend accordingly.

Images bring a story to life. Use them wisely and well!

— Marianne Musgrove

TUESDAY WRITING TIP – ADD LAYERS TO YOUR PLOT

I sometimes find that my plots are too linear – there’s a lot happening, but they still feel flat

While I was away in Canberra, I read Donald Maass’s amazing book, Writing the Breakout Novel (and worked my way through his Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook) and so many things in it made sense for me – made me realise that what was missing from my plot was layering.

I needed to develop additional conflict/problems for my main character that weren’t related to the main story but added complications.

Here’s what I mean. My main character’s goal is to avenge an injury done to her and stop the perpetrator from doing it to anyone else.

I followed the directions in Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook and now I have three additional problems for my character.

1.         She wants to break up with her boyfriend but doesn’t know how without ruining their friendship.

2.         She has been caught shoplifting and her father is a policeman.

3.         She has to stop her younger sister from becoming involved with a dangerous older guy.

See already, I have things that are going to complicate my character’s life and hamper her in achieving her goal.

But thanks to Donald Maas, I realised I had to do more than create obstacles for my character.

As Maas points out.  “So what? Who cares if your main character doesn’t achieve their goal? What’s at stake?”

These questions have encouraged me to delve even deeper into my plot

If my main character doesn’t stop the person who attacked her then her own family is at risk because the perpetrator knows where she lives. Lives are at stake…and not just her own.

Now all I have to do is get my readers to care about my main character and her family and then the stakes will matter to them too.

Don’t you just love it when you pick up a writing book that really resonates with you, that can help you see how you can become a better writer.

If you have some favourite books on writing I’d love you to share them…and also share your experiences of how they have helped you.

Feel free to leave your feedback and suggestions in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing:)

Dee

FRIDAY FEEDBACK

Don’t forget to come back Friday to checkout our feedback on a piece of someone’s work in progress.

If you’d like to submit your work for the Friday Feedback segment, click on this link to find out how.

Have You Ever Lost Your Writer’s Voice?

Tania, me and Claire

I have. It was gone for over a month, but now it’s back – thanks to some great writer friends and the stars.

I’m in Canberra this week with my son who’s doing work experience at Mount Stromlo Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He loves astronomy so it’s going to be a great week for him.

It has worked out well for me too because it has given me time to write, and the opportunity to catch up with writer friends like Tania McCartney and Claire Saxby (who happened to be in Canberra by chance).

But most important of all, I’ve had the chance to step back and look at things from a new perspective.

I came to Canberra expecting to work on a new manuscript. I had put aside my work in progress after receiving some unsolicited feedback on my writing style that took me by surprise (not in a good way) and dried my words up.

I’m not normally this fickle – normally one manuscript is the centre of my focus and I don’t deviate from it until the current draft is finished, and I put it aside knowing that I’ve gone as far as I can at that point in time. But over recent weeks, I’ve been unable to touch my work in progress.

Inspiring Ellen Hopkins and Mo Johnson

On my way to Canberra I deviated, and that’s where I found the first piece of my voice. I went from Melbourne to Canberra via Sydney where I caught up with the Mo Johnson (author of Boofheads, Something More and Noah’s Garden, and Ellen Hopkins. Ellen’s amazing books, Crank, Impulse, Burned (and many more) were what first inspired me to try my hand at verse novels.

It was so exciting to be among YA novellists talking about YA novels. I’d been feeling a bit disheartened lately because although I’ve had quite a bit of interest from overseas, it appears that Australian publishers are not publishing the kind of YA that I write at the moment.

Just being with Mo and Ellen and talking about our writing was invigorating. It also reminded me that we have to write what’s in our hearts. As Ellen says, “We have to tell the story that we need to tell”.

Ellen’s words reminded me that although being published is fabulous, we write because we have something to say.  And so we must say it…no matter how many setbacks we have…no matter who is going to read it…we have to tell our stories in our own unique way.

So this is my week for putting aside all the things that have held me back from working on my YA thriller…that it might be ‘too dark’ or ‘too different’ or ‘too something else’.

After a long break, I’m getting back into it with fresh eyes and renewed vigour. I believe in this manuscript (I almost always have:) and I’m determined to make it work.

The break has been good for both me, and the manuscript, but now it’s time to immerse myself in it again.

Today, when I was lunching with Tania and Claire I realised that I’d let the words of one person paralyse my writing.

Whether it’s a bad review or a ‘too personal’ rejection, it can cripple our creativity, but the fact is that we have to move on.

I’m lucky to have my ever-optimistic and supportive crit buddy, Alison Reynolds who has encouraged me and had faith in me every step of the way. I’m lucky to have such wonderful and empathetic writing friends who have helped me more than they know.

If you lose your writer’s voice, here are my suggestions on how to get it back.

MY TIPS

  1. Take a break from your manuscript
  2. Identify what’s holding you back and deal with it
  3. Find or read about inspirational people to inspire you (go to conferences, join writer’s group, go places where you can meet and share with other writers)
  4. Read books by people who inspire you.
  5. Have ceremonial burnings of painful reviews or rejection letters
  6. Celebrate your successes, large and small

Have you ever lost your writer’s voice? How did you get it back?

We’d love you to share your stories and suggestions in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing:)

Dee

HOW TO GET EXCITED ABOUT YOUR WRITING AGAIN

I have a number of submissions ‘out there’ at the moment.

Just to name a few, I have a contemporary YA novel, a humorous mid-grade series, a humorous educational chapter book and a proposal for a non-fiction YA series.

I know there are many many writers out there just like me…waiting…waiting…waiting. And it’s not always easy. There are some days when I wonder whether I’ll ever hear back…when I seriously wonder whether I even want to. Sometimes I feel as if I’m chasing a rainbow that disappears just as I’m about to reach out and touch it.

Last month, I had a ‘will you stop writing this stuff’ rejection in the same month as the same manuscript shortlisted in a major writing competition and I got a request for a ‘full’ for it from a US agent. No wonder we writers get confused.

For a nano second I even asked myself last month why I do this. Why do I put myself through all these ‘ups and downs’? The answer wasn’t hard to find. It’s because I’m a writer. It’s what I do.

And now, less than a week later, I’m excited about writing again…and here’s why?

1.            I have the most awesome writerly friends (you know who you are:) who inspire me with their great work, support me with their caring and wisdom and show me true kindness.

2.            When I’m not writing I’m reading, and reading fabulous books reminds me why I write and inspires me to write better.

3.            I have just done another amazing, inspiring, so full of learning online course with the great Mary Buckham, (Check out her website) who not only provides awesome learning materials but also positive helpful feedback.

4.            I have excavated from my manuscript pile a piece of work I always loved, but never submitted because it ‘breaks a few rules’. I’m now working on that one ready to submit.

5.            A new idea for a quirky new YA novel has leapt into my head, complete with plot and characters…and I’m having fun writing again.

I have put aside what I was working on to pursue this new idea and I’m finding it liberating. This new idea is truly what I want to be writing at the moment.

Sometimes I forget that I have control of all this. I was soldiering on with a manuscript that I still think has merit, but for a number of reasons I’m just not into right now. But I was stubbornly pursuing it because I felt I had to get to the end. But I don’t. Not right now – not when I’m not in the mood – not when I’m not enjoying writing it.

Another thing going for my new WIP is that it’s about a 15 year old boy and I happen to have one of those home on school holidays at the moment…and he’s always willing to help me with ideas, suggestions and crits…so why wouldn’t I make the most of this opportunity?

When your writing isn’t going the way you’d like it to, what do you do to bring it back on track.

I’d love you to share your tips and suggestions in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing:)

Dee

P.S. Friday Feedback is back this week

TUESDAY WRITING TIP – TAKING A BREAK FROM YOUR MANUSCRIPT

I’ve been on a roller coaster with my writing over the last few weeks. Life has taken over at times and like all writers, I’ve had a few setbacks. (Not just the ‘thanks but no thanks’ emails)

I’ve been working on my YA trilogy which is a complex maze of characters, plot and foreshadowing. I tried a series of different plotting devices, but what I realised this week is the thing I need most is to take a break – to stop forcing the issue and allow my subconscious to do its work.

I find that the more pressure I put on myself, the harder it is for my brain to relax…for my thoughts to flow freely…to find the creative solutions I need.

Part of my difficulty has been the discovery that what I thought was book one in the trilogy is actually book two and now I have to basically start from scratch – which is okay, but these characters and their conflicts have been in my head for so long that I feel like I need to put some distance between us.

It’s like spending 24/7 with a bossy friend and feeling that you just need time out to breathe…to be yourself.

Basically, I got to 12,000 words and hit the brick wall. Even though I know what’s going to happen, I need to do more character development and plotting…and thinking. Like a freshly made pot of tea, I need to leave this story to let it brew. So, hard as it has been, I’ve walked away from the manuscript for the time being.

I’m taking a break and loving it…and I know that when I get back to this story I’m going to love it a whole lot more too.

Sometimes you need to walk away from a manuscript. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it’s okay to let it go for the time being and move on to something else.

Here’s what to I’ve been doing and these are some things that might help you if you feel like your manuscript is managing you:

  1. I’m reading a lot…and loving it. Reading great books reminds you of what you love about being a writer.
  2. Taking lots of long walks with my dog (and sometimes the cat). They think this is a fabulous idea.
  3. Revisiting an old manuscript in a completely different genre. (I’m really enjoying this).
  4. Taking a short writing course.

I’d love to hear your suggestions and tips about what you do when you feel like you are getting bogged down with a manuscript. What do you do to get back the spark?

Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section of this post.

Happy writing:)

Dee

TUESDAY WRITING TIP – WRITE YOURSELF OUT OF THE BLACK HOLE

It’s happening all around the world. With the GST, the EB revolution, the GFC and for so many other reasons, publishing is slow.

There’s a lot being published, but people seem less prepared to take risks – particularly on new and emerging authors.

Instead of producing completely new works, I’ve seen a definite trend with publishers in Australia to republish things that have sold well – but in a different format. Or they commission established writers to work on projects that their marketing departments think or know from experience will bring sales.

This is all great! It means authors are still getting their work published and there are still fabulous books out there to be read…and we all understand publishers have to make a living.

But unfortunately, if you haven’t established yourself as a writer yet, it seems to be getting harder and harder to break into mainstream publishing.

At the moment, I have six projects out on submission across different genres – two YAs (one verse, one prose), one mid-grade novel, one chapter book, one stand alone picture book and a picture book series.

And for a while there, I started to think that my submissions were going into the Bermuda Triangle.  I sent them out and never heard word of them again. Thankfully, I’ve had a couple of positive responses lately, but I have come to accept that this is the way of publishing. Agents and publishers receive so many submissions that they just don’t have time to respond to all of them.

So I’m taking ‘no response’ to mean ‘no thank you’ and I’m moving on.

I’m looking at what I’ve written and reworking it if necessary, and some submissions I’m simply sending elsewhere. (In a strategic way of course – after researching and finding out who has an interest in the kind of thing I write)

Fortunately, I have a group of truly wonderful and supportive writerly friends who understand how all this feels and who pep me up when I’m feeling despondent.

In the end I know it’s up to me. I find that the best cure for the writing blues, to drag me out of that black hole of uncertainty is to write.

Writing is the thing we have control over.  It allows us to immerse ourselves in a world that has less pressure and stress. It allows us to express how we feel, to challenge ourselves, to make us consider events and circumstances outside our experience.

Writing makes me happy. It gives me hope.

There’s always the hope that this is the manuscript publishers will fall in love with. If I don’t have anything to submit, then there’s no hope of publication.

We have to dream, hope and we have to write. It’s who we are. Writing helps us move on.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula to getting published, but the one certain thing is that we have to keep writing – for us, for our future readers. We have to write our way through these difficult times in publishing.

How do you cope with rejection/uncertainty/lack of progress with your writing career? Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions. They may help other writers to keep writing.

Have hope, stay strong and happy writing:)

Dee

P.S. Next week I’m having a special event here at the Deescribe writing to help writers who are looking for a crit buddy or writer’s group.

HOW TO WRITE ABOUT YOUR HOBBY OR PASSION

Neridah McMullin is the author of a number of inspirational books about the people who have shaped Australia’s sporting history.  

Her latest book, KICK IT TO ME tells the story of Tom Willis (known as the father of Aussie Rules football) and how indigenous Australians and their game Marn-grook shaped and influenced the game that is played throughout Australia today.

As Eddie McGuire, president of Collingwood Football Club says in the Foreword of KICK IT TO ME,

We have begun to realise what Tom Willis knew all along – the historical inhabitants of this country have put the “Australian” into Australian Rules.

Today at DeeScribe Writing, Neridah takes us through her research and writing process and gives us tips on writing about your hobby or passion.

1.  Where did the inspiration for your new book come from?

I’m a big Collingwood fan and in 2007 Eddie McGuire spoke at a function about the life of Tom Wills, his influence on the first set of rules for Australian Rules Football and how he lived his life.

Tom Wills was the son of a squatter in Western Victoria in the 1840’s, growing up on a pastoral station called ‘Lexington’.

In these hard working days, the children of squatters were pretty much free range and did whatever they wanted.

Tom befriended the children of the local Djab Wurrung tribe and wandered freely throughout their camp. He spoke their language fluently; he knew all their clapping songs and joined in their corrobborees. And he watched, and learned and played marn-grook – the ancient Aboriginal game.

Tom was 10 he went away to boarding school in Melbourne and England, returning at 20 years of age. He proceeded to play a lot of cricket. Cricket was hugely popular, and inter-colonial rivalry was massive.

But in between cricket season, Tom wanted to do something else and wrote to a local sporting magazine quoting these famous words “We shall have a game of out own” and so it was that the first set of rules for Australian Rules Football was written; the game we love was borne, a game that is now the biggest spectator sport in Australia. And I’m so proud of this.

I found it fascinating that most people from early colonial Victoria saw themselves from their country of origin e.g. they thought of themselves as English or Scottish or Irish. But Tom Wills identified himself as being Australian and he wanted to create something uniquely Australian.

Tom was an ordinary guy who did something extraordinary. Is aussie rules like rugby? No! Is it like Gaelic footy or Gridiron? No! It’s unique.

There is no doubt in my mind that Tom Wills never forgot the joys of playing marn-grook

So just to fill you in, marn–grook was a game of kick to kick. It was all about long kicking and fast running with the ball, and it was also characterised by speccy’s. Sound familiar? High flying, aerial, acrobatic marking of the ball. So here is the connection – the speccy; a signature of ‘aussie rules’ footy.

Marn-grook didn’t have goals or points, so the influence of other sports can be also seen here.

But you only have to watch any of the Aboriginal boys in the AFL play footy to see how natural the game is to them. How easily they move the ball, take speccys and kick these amazing goals.

And that’s what happened, after Eddie spoke at this function, I started to watch Leon Davis more closely. Then I started to watch other Indigenous players at other clubs, the likes of Alwyn Davey and his brother Aaron. In fact, I now follow all the Indigenous players. They’re amazing.

Leon Davis had a stellar year in 2007 and I remember I used to sit at the footy and laugh with disbelief watching him – he was so amazing.

Today, I really admire Paddy Ryder from the Bombers, Adam Goodes from the Swans and Liam Jurrah from the Demons. I also admire their individual stories, where they have come from and the journey they had to make to play AFL footy. It’s tough for them to leave their homes and families; they do an awesome job.

2.    Why is “Kick It To Me” important to you?

To me, it’s an acknowledgement to Indigenous Australians that they are a huge part of the great game of ‘aussie rules’.

It’s also about acknowledging Tom Wills; not only a fine sportsman but as a humanitarian as well.

To live peacefully and respectfully is all about tolerance and I believe sport crosses that cultural divide.

3.   How long did it take to research?

I’m a research scientist by trade so I feel really comfortable doing research. I’m systematic and quite obsessive about it – I love it.

The research for this book took about three months (fitting in with family demands). I really like to seek out all sources of information and immerse myself in them.

4.   Can you tell us what was involved in the research process?

I read several books, including biographies and Tom Wills father’s journal (Horatio Wills). I visited the State Library, and interviewed several people in the process. Academic and writer, Greg De Moore wrote the book ‘The Tragic Rise and Fall of Tom Wills’ and I just loved this book. I contacted Greg and he was super helpful, even reading my manuscript for me and suggesting improvements. I wanted it to be historically accurate, so his input was invaluable.

Martin Flanagan, a senior football writer at The Age, was also a big help. He wrote the book ‘The Call’ and it’s a cracker for footy fans.

I visited Melbourne Football Club Archives (Tom Wills formed the Melbourne Football Club) and my publisher, Bernadette Walters, and the artist for my book, Peter Hudson, and I made a day trip to visit ‘Lexington’ Station in Moyston in Western Victoria. The current owners, Peter and Elizabeth Crauford were very generous with their time. The ‘Lexington’ homestead is very charismatic.

It was inspiring. The homestead has a door architrave with notches for the heights of all the Will’s children growing up. It was a visceral experience, you could literally feel the history all around you.

5.   Do you have any research tips for new writers?

Yes, delve deep and keep good records and references. If you’re writing historical narrative you may need to substantiate it. I once lost some information I found on the internet and it took me months to find it again! It gave me nightmares.

Always acknowledge people, sources and references. It’s respectful and it’s just the right thing to do.

6.    This is not your first book on football? Do you have any tips for writers about how you combined your passion for the sport with your love of writing?

I’ve written three Chapter Books for the Collingwood Football Club. These books follow a generation of a family who experience the highs and lows of following the Pies. The books document the clubs wonderful history. Some of the stories are gory, some are funny and others are inspiring and tragic. All footy clubs have these wonderful stories.

My advice is to write from the heart, it’s always genuine then.

Planning is important when writing more than one book, so having an angle to approach each one with works well.

7.    Do you have any other books planned on this topic?

My third Collingwood book is due out later this year. It’s called ‘Collingwood Forever’ and is set in the 1958 Grand Final. It’s when the Pies beat the Melbourne Football Club, preventing them from winning four premierships in a row and equaling Collingwood’s four premierships set in 1927 – 1930. I love this story as many of the players in this team are still with us. They were never meant to win it. They were a young team and on the morning of the grand final it started to rain. It rained and rained all day, so this changed the way the game could be played. Funny things can happen on Grand Final day. This story also features the great Phonse Kyne speech to the players at half time; “the eyes of a generation are upon you…” Sterling stuff!

I also have a cricket story coming out later this year too…

I think it might be time for me to write.

Thanks so much Neridah for visiting DeeScribe Writing and sharing your insights and inspiration.

Check out Neridah’s KICK IT TO ME book launch on Youtube.

Friday Feedback is back at DeeSribe Writing this week so feel free to come back then and share your feedback and tips.

Happy writing:)

Dee 

WRITING A MEMOIR

Today, Australian author, Karen Tyrell is visiting to share her tips and experiences writing her just released memoir, ME & HER: A Memoir of Madness

1. What was the most difficult thing about writing a memoir?

Working out what was important to my story and what would drive my narrative forward.

2. How did you decide on which real-life characters to use?

In my earliest drafts, I had a cast of over fifty characters. I had to cut back to those characters who made the greatest impact on my story and recovery. I often combined two real people to become “one” character.

3. How did you know where to start and when to finish?

I started at a pivotal turning point in my story, where I hooked the reader in, enticing them to read more. I ended my story when all the conflicts were resolved and all the questions were answered.

4. Did you have any legal considerations?

My memoir surrounds the real life drama of parents harassing me, a teacher, to breaking point. I had to protect myself from being sued. I changed the names of the bullies, their descriptions and specific details of the harassment. I omitted dates and places.

5. How difficult it was to write about something so personal?

It was extremely difficult to reveal the most traumatic events. Originally, I showed these via short flashbacks. Later when I became braver, I disclosed my gradual decline and disintegration over six chapters.

Any tips on how you handled that?

I had to be comfortable with what I disclosed and only added the confronting events when I was emotionally ready. I had to ask myself, ‘Do I want the world to know this detail?’

ANNOUNCING … ME & HER eBook

To find out more about Karen Tyrrell and where to purchase ME & HER: A Memoir of Madness, please check out her website.

Please go to http://www.karentyrrell.com and click on BUY BOOK to purchase an eBook!

eBOOK GIVEAWAYS!

ME & HER: a Memoir of Madness launches this week on Amazon as an eBook.  Please comment here or ask a question, sharing why you want to be in the draw for a FREE eBook. Two copies to be won!

CATCH UP WITH KAREN ELSEWHERE ON TOUR

Karen is also visiting these great blogs:

ME & HER Blog Tour 14th – 20th May

14th May Kaz Delaney- Writing Inspiration http://kazdelaney.wordpress.com/

Prachi S.Vaish – Psychologist – Interview http://www.hopenetwork.in

15th May Tuesday Writing Tips- Writing Memoirs https://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/

Dr Happy – Happiness after the Gloom http://www.thehappinessinstitute.com/blog/

16th May Sally Odgers – Writing & Editing Process http://spinningpearls.blogspot.com.au/

17th May Gabrielle Sheppard, UK – Bipolar Recovery www.bi-polargirl.com/blog

18th May Natasha Tracy, Canada – Writing for Recovery http://natashatracy.com/

19th May Jill Smith- Book Review & Interview http://authorjillsmith.wordpress.com

Kids Book Review- Mental Health Books 4 Kids http://www.kids-bookreview.com/

20th May Ang Hall – ME & HER Book Review- http://bluedingonet.wordpress.com/