As the winner of the Grub Street National Book Prize, I delivered a lecture at the “Muse & the Marketplace” Conference in Boston, March 4, 2013. I discussed the increasing importance of memoir in our culture today, three types of memoirs, and ten aspects of craft that contribute to a successful memoir. Poems, quotations from great memoirs, and what memoirists have to say about their craft.
When is it time to admit that a writing project is a turkey and let go? Questions I’ve learned to ask myself when I’m partway into a project and need to decide whether to go all-in…or walk away.
I once heard about a woman (a mother, of course) who wrote an entire novel in secret – in the bathtub. She didn’t show her work to a soul, or even breathe a word about it, until she was completely finished. That’s not me. Most of us want to share along the way — but when, how, and with whom?
[TIPS OF THE TRADE]: “Inchy by inchy, Leonardo da Vinci.”
Wise – and surprising – words for writers to live by.
[TIPS OF THE TRADE]: Who Cares About Your Family Story? Ten Tips to Ensure Readers Will Care
Ten ways to keep readers engaged with the story that engages you.
Are you a writer who wishes you could just write–nothing else–and everything else would just fall into place?
Where should I speak? How do I approach speaking venues? What makes a great talk?
Planning a book party? Follow these steps and you can’t go wrong.
Having a writing mother, being a writing mother – for me, each has been a precious privilege.
[TIPS OF THE TRADE]: The Best Writers’ Group
How to find, or start, a writers’ group – and what makes it work.
“I arise in the morning,” E.B. White wrote, “torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Explore the intersection between writing and activism — and find out why these guys are teetering down the street in high heels.
Taking a break doesn’t necessarily mean leaving your literary pursuits at home. Use your vacation time to restore yourself and improve your craft.
“It doesn’t matter whether you write fiction or nonfiction,” says Ursula Le Guin, the master of science fiction fantasy. “All storytellers work with the same box of tools.” So what’s in the toolbox?
Writing depends on taking notice, keeping our eyesight as keen as can be. How do we keep our eyes in working order? How do we see–and keep on seeing?
[TIPS OF THE TRADE]: A Writer Walks into a Conference
Even for a seasoned author, a writers’ conference can be daunting. Top ways to get the most out of it.
Never thank a cat…and other idiosyncratic advice.
I used to favor an aggressive interview style; then I changed my mind.
Unless you’re famous, even a bookstore (in fact, especially a bookstore) is just an empty room – and it’s your job to fill it.
When Sara Mansfield Taber and I learned that we’d both been assigned the same publication date for our new books, we decided to get together and help each other out with book promotion. Here’s what we do.
[TIPS OF THE TRADE]: And the Award Goes To…Socially Engaged Fiction
Are you writing a novel about “the world as it is with an eye for how it could be”? If so, Barbara Kingsolver may have a prize for you.
When my publisher wangled me an autographing session at BookExpo America, the publishing industry trade fair, I had two goals…
“Although memoirs and works of fiction are two different animals” I told Chloe ,“memoir writers need to make use of fiction techniques, including these three…”
My guest post talks about my favorite memoirs and how they balance the personal and the universal – an individual life rubbing up against the sweep of history…