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Writing Life Stories: How To Make Memories Into Memoirs, Ideas Into Essays And Life Into Literature 2nd Edition
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm trying to do the exercises in order, but I'm not being too strict with myself about adhering to a schedule. I've found one exercise (chapter 4, "On...") that I like so much that I've done it three times, and I think it really is prodding me to examine some personal thoughts through writing. I have no doubt that this book is helping me to get at the core issues that I really want to write about.
Bill's writing voice makes for easy, enjoyable reading, and sometimes I find it a bit hard to stop reading and do the exercises. But, I do think they're worthwhile. There are 11 chapters: 1 Getting Started; 2 Memory; 3 Scenemaking; 4 Big Ideas; 5 Characters and Character; 6 Stage Presence; 7 Finding the Facts; 8 Metaphor and Meaning; 9 Saying it Right; 10 Building a Building; and 11 Getting Published.
This book has earned a permanent slot on my bookshelf and I think it's going to be one of those books that get revisited on a regular basis.
At times the author seemed unorganized and the book lacked the structure I normally preferred in an instructional book. As I continued to read, I discovered that he was in control and teaching me the skills needed for this unique style of writing.
Still I was stumped. How can someone like me go about getting my memories down on paper? I am not a writer in any sense of the word except for letters to my mum and e-mails to friends. Where does a non-writer turn for guidance when they have a story to tell?
You need look no further than Bill Roorbach's Writing Life Stories, now available in this revised 10th anniversary edition. As he promises, Roorbach does indeed show us 'how to make memories into memoirs, ideas into essays, and life into literature'. He does it through exercises that build on each other, and soon we find what we are looking for - which is, in his own words:
"Access to memory, access to material, access to ideas, access to unconscious, and, finally access to meaning... Welcome, welcome, you and your stories are in the right place."
In Chapter 2, Roorbach's Memory Exercise 1 asks us to draw a map of the earliest neighbourhood we can remember living in. We are instructed to include as much detail as we can. Who lived where? Where were the secret places? Where were our friends? Where did the weird neighbours live? Where were the off-limit places? Where did we get into trouble?
I found myself drawing Matua Peninsula with the Matua Primary School in great detail. The prefab classroom that Standard 2 was taught in.Read more ›
Excellent guide for anyone writing memoirs. I used it as the textbook for a writing circle I run. Although the group doesn't focus on memoirs, the exercises are very good for anyone wishing to work with creative non-fiction.
The participants enjoyed the writing exercises, such as re-creating the first neighborhood they remembered living in as a map. An unexpected effect of memory-searching was that for several of us, old buried memories surfaced spontaneously in dreams.
If you're a writer it will remind you of those little things you forgot to give your writing punch.
But of all the creative writing books I have ever read this one had two outstanding pluses.
It fills in the gaps about how to write dialogue.
The author is accessible through email.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic Book! This is the best book on writing that I have ever read. I have been a professional writer for many years, and I learned a lot from this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Honest Feedback
Over and over and over again, I have come back to this book. There are dozens of others on my shelves and in my Kindle, but this is the one that has done the most for me as a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by writer
Interesting to read and very helpful. Great advices for future writers, it really pushes you to be personal, which is essential if you want to be a non fictional writer.Published 2 months ago by Annie Brickman
If you haven't really written anything before and you want to write your memoir, this book might be for you. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mel R. Scurbica
For a writer writing to teach you how to write, I think this book is poorly written. I did not get anything out of this book and would return it if I could. Read morePublished 3 months ago by gadget geek