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Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing Paperback – January 10, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Family is what creates us, sustains us, bedevils us, confuses us, loves us, destroys us, and defines us. For writers--particularly women writers--family is also a rich vein of subject matter that can be both nourishing and overwhelming, often at the same time. This volume examines a wide variety of family-related issues from points of view that range from the practical to the philosophical, but all focused on how they impact women who write.”
--Eleanor Lerman, author of The Sensual World Re-Emerges (Sarabande Books, 2010) and Janet Planet (Mayapple, 2011), among other volumes

"Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing is like a good conversation with writer-friends who share their experiences and help you think about your own approach to writing and publishing. If you want to preserve your family history for future generations, write a memoir, or just explore your own family's stories, this book is full of accessible and useful suggestions."
--Ellen Bass, poet and faculty in the Pacific University MFA program; The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007)

“From how to deal with relatives who feel betrayed to finding bits of time to write while raising children to blogging and writing for the internet, Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing is a major resource for women who write about family in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Lela Davidson’s essay about using research and creative imagination to bring your ancestors to life on the page, Rosemary Moeller’s on writing with respect about devoutly religious families and communities when you are a freethinker, and Kezia Willingham’s on taking the risk to write your own truth are just a sampling of the gems of advice, technique, professional tips, and encouragement that make up this valuable book.”
--Linda Rodriguez, Heart’s Migration (Tia Chucha Press), 2010 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence

"This is a comprehensive work that belongs on any nonfiction writer's bookshelf. Not only does it address the legal and emotional costs that come with the challenge of writing about family, it offers insights into how one can nurture a rewarding writing career in conjunction with a demanding day job and family obligations."
--Jennifer Tang, New York City librarian and freelance writer for Newsweek, L.A. Times, and Fitness magazine

“This extraordinary collection of insightful, well-written essays will serve splendidly as both guidebook and motivator for any woman who is writing seriously and living her life fully. Matters as diverse as family dynamics, realistic time-management, marketing strategies---even ways of writing more effectively—are covered here with great sensitivity and common sense.”
---Marilyn L. Taylor, Ph.D., Wisconsin Poet Laureate, 2009-2010; Going Wrong (Parallel Press, 2009)

“Writing about family carries out the writing instructor’s dictum of writing about what you know, but brings along the very family issues that draw writers to the subject in the first place. Besides a range of thoughtful pieces that capitalize on family strengths yet confront any issues head on, Women Writing on Family offers new writers sage advice on finding the time to write, using the Internet to advantage, and successfully publishing their work-–on any topic.”
---Phyllis Holman Weisbard, University of Wisconsin System Women’s Studies Librarian, and Publisher, Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women’s Studies Resources

“With all the rhetoric today about family, it is nice to see a volume that actually deals with family in way that is creative, honest, and tasteful. Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing provides sensible guidelines to use and savor. Not to be missed by those studying family history. The stories and ideas contained within are jewels of wisdom that women will find useful. Oh and men can get something out of this book too!!!!”
---Robert G. Weiner, associate humanities librarian, Texas Tech University; contributor, History of the Holocaust (Routledge, 2011); Editor, Captain America and the Struggle of the Superhero ( McFarland, 2009).

“The essays in Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing are written by experts in the field who balance keen intellect and practical tips with a sensitivity for personal histories. This is an a must have work for anyone interested delving into the complex and rich world of family histories.”
---Sarah Passonneau, Iowa State University, assistant professor

“It is only natural for women, traditional keepers of language and storytellers, to share their experience on writing memoirs and recording a family history. From conception to delivery, this anthology covers a wide variety of aspects that a woman writer may encounter on her journey.”
--Vera Gubnitskaia, Youth Services Manager, Orange County Library System; contributor: Librarians As Community Partners: An Outreach Handbook (ALA editions, 2010)

"As women, we have unique perspectives on life experiences. These experiences deserve an audience. This book will be invaluable to women needing guidance with the emotional, ethical, and professional avenues of getting their stories in print."
---Colleen Driscoll, Breitung Township Schools, Michigan, Media Specialist

“If you're interested in learning how to craft and market stories about family, Women Writing on Family features a wealth of experienced writers and editors to help you through every phase of the process. This comprehensive book deals honestly with the emotional, legal and practical aspects of writing close to the heart.”
---Kerol Harrod, Writer/Co-Producer of Library Larry's Big Day, Denton Public Library, Denton, Texas; First-Place Winner of 2010 TATOA Programming Awards

"This is a book of practical advice on writing about a sometimes messy subject, the family. Read the whole thing through, or dip in a topic you are interested in, and you'll come away with a clear view on how to start and finish writing."
--Wayne Jones, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario

“People interested in writing, teaching, and publishing family-focused stories, narratives, poetry, or books will appreciate the practical and helpful contributions in Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching, and Publishing. Including tips on writing fiction and nonfiction as well as publishing, marketing, and promotion, this excellent anthology is timely, important, and especially relevant for writers interested in the family.”
---Donald G. Frank, Professor Emeritus, Portland State University

"Just as every place has a story, so does every family. Women Writing on Family gives you the essentials on writing, teaching and publishing about family. Real, detailed advice from women who know. If you want to share your family stories, this book is not to be missed.”
---Chris Helvey, author of Purple Adobe and Editor-in-Chief of Trajectory

"From finding inspiration to practical advice about marketing and legal issues, these experienced authors’ essays serve as a roadmap for anyone putting pen to paper to capture their family’s story."
---Jason Kuhl, Library Operations Director, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Arlington Heights, Illinois

“The contributors, all published authors, to Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing provide invaluable help to women authors on the more difficult than expected task of turning their family experiences into quality, marketable literary works. This rich treasure trove of advice ranges from finding time to write to crafting family history through a personal style to publishing and promoting the resulting publications in the Internet age.“
---Dr. Robert P. Holley, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, contributor, Writing and Publishing: the Librarian’s Handbook (ALA Editions), 2010), author of over one hundred publications

From the Author

Co-editor Carol Smallwood is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 343 pages
  • Publisher: The Key Publishing House; 1st edition (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1926780132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1926780139
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,846,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By L. Benton on May 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Writers grappling with the thorny issues that surround writing about families will find help in this long-overdue volume of 55 essays by published writers--experts on family writing.

The anthology contains essays aimed at both beginning and experienced writers--from how to stay out of hot water when writing about family (including deceased relatives) to marketing your writing creatively, whether to editors or directly to the reading public. It also includes lists of places to submit family writing.

Some of the essays are how-to ("Keeping Your Distance: Avoiding Sentimentality in Family-Centered Writing"). Others, such as "Mothers and Daughters: Telling Shared Stories" and "How to Write a Childhood Memoir," offer actual writing exercises. Strategies for busy writing mothers and for using poetic forms to write about family also are (happily) represented in the collection.

For experienced writers, "Now and Then: Using the Retrospective Narrator in Memoir" explains the subtle but critical distinction between protagonist and narrator (or main character and storyteller), both of whom are the writer.

The anthology succeeds as a sort of A to Z collection of answers to the questions writers face when they write about families. It's perfect for dipping into when looking for a way out of a delicate family writing muddle.

I wish the book had gone through one final nit-picky edit to eliminate small, distracting errors in the text, like a few weird sentence fragments and misplaced quotation marks. But as a memoirist writing about family and writing instructor teaching predominantly women who are writing about family, I'm already using this valuable book for my own and my students' work.
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Format: Paperback
If you were listening to the women in a long-standing writers' group, you would hear questions like these:
"How can I write the truth about my family without damaging relationships?"
"I want to write about my grandmother, but I don't have many facts. How can I flesh out her character in an authentic way?"
"I love my baby, but when will I have time to write again?"

The answers to these and dozens of other questions about writing on (and dealing with) family are contained in this treasure trove of encouragement, inspiration, and advice. Its fifty-five chapters from nearly forty published authors even cover the questions you didn't think to ask. The contributors' breadth of experience and the book's logical organization make this a valuable, one-stop resource.
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Format: Paperback
Anthologies can be difficult to review because there is so much packed into one volume. This one was delightfully consistent with that premise. Women Writing on Family offers suggestions to advance your writing at every level. If you are a beginning writer, just noodling around with the idea of writing about your family you could start with "On Believing What You Have to Say Is Worth Writing" by Sheila Bender. If you have been writing for a while and are thinking about what to do with your work, there is "Identifying Potential Markets For Family Writing" by Rebecca Tolley-Stokes. Using writing to heal? Connect with "Using Writing as a Means of Surviving and Transgressing Family Violence and Trauma" by Anna Saini. If you are curious about self publishing there is "Self-Publishing from Manuscript to Finished Book: Eight Steps in Eight Months," by Anne Ipsen.

The authors are as diverse as the content. There are professional women sharing that writing about family can be seen as "soft" or something less than professional writing. These women explore the possible career repercussions of that perception and how to manage them. Some writers describe how journaling led to a book and how blogging can lead to more involved, lengthier works. Some articles are heavily referenced; some are straight from the heart. Many of the authors are well published, for others this is their first publication. The writing styles range from instructional to extremely personal.
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This is an exceptionally useful book, that covers a wide variety of topics while staying on the theme of writing about families. There are a variety of good chapters dealing with topics from how to write about abuse, love, gender issues, to handy practical topics like how to market your book.

My only complaint is that I don't think this book should per se be limited to women. There are issues here that would be of interest to many male writers, and it is as fine a guide to writing well on family issues as I have seen.

A particular kudos to the editors for the organization, the chapters are on brief, yet highly informative. The quality of the writing is superior to many other guides, and it reads well. Reading this is not a chore or academic exercise. Best of all, despite the brevity of many of the contributions, there is a great deal of experience and judgment packed into these pages.

This book is highly recommended for any writer, wishing to write well, and occasionally wisely, about family.
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