Writing Tip: Read a “how to” book.

The best book on writing memoir–I’ve read many–is Tristine Rainer’s Your Life as Story: Discovering the ‘New Autobiography’ and Writing Memoir as Literature. I didn’t discover this book until my second year of writing. Maybe that was okay because I had to do a lot of writing to even get a sense of where I was headed, but Your Life as Story was just what I needed to make sense of how to structure a memoir, using the same tools as fiction.

All in 13 steps.

I know steps. As a nurse, I learned steps to doing everything–baths, catheters, medications. I love knowing STEPS to doing anything. I can follow steps. I used Rainer’s steps as my outline, tracking my story line from beginning to end including pivotal events, themes, conflicts, desires…all the way to resolution. If you buy this book immediately (Amazon, $11.53) and find it as helpful as I did, thank Hope Edelman (Motherless Daughters; Motherless Mothers, ) who gave us this resource in a class I took at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.