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In the Ring — Scrivener vs. Word

In the Ring — Scrivener vs. Word

IF YOU’VE BEEN WRITING ANY LENGTH OF TIME, you’ve probably heard of Scrivener. And if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan. I use Scrivener for pretty much all my writing these days: blog posts, short works, such as essays and poems, as well as book-length works. It’s also a great journaling tool. Both Word and Scrivener are feature-rich, and each has its place in the writing toolbox. Each can be easy or difficult to learn, depending on how many features you want to use. Today, I’m going to put Word and Scrivener[...]
Read Like a Writer, Part 3: West With the Night - Structure

Read Like a Writer, Part 3: West With the Night - Structure

UNDERSTANDING THE STRUCTURE of a memoir, for me, has always been the most challenging part of analyzing a book — partly because there are so many ways to go about it. Structure can be analyzed by timeline, place, theme, types of events, and so on. In the first lines of West With the Night, Markham hints that she will base the structure of her memoir on place: HOW IS IT POSSIBLE to bring order out of memory? I should like to begin at the beginning, patiently, like a weaver at his loom. I should like to say, ‘This is the place to[...]
7 Journaling Prompts to Face — And Transform — Your Fears

7 Journaling Prompts to Face — And Transform — Your Fears

EVERYONE EXPERIENCES FEAR. Healthy fear arises from proximity to a dangerous situation: a healthy fear of falling, for example, prevents us from standing too close to the edge of a cliff. A healthy fear of injury or death prevents us from crossing the street in front of oncoming traffic. We also experience less tangible forms of fear: fear of failure, of loss, of doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. These types of fear can motivate us to positive action; yet, in the extreme they can debilitate and paralyze us to inaction. Where does the balance lie between normal, healthy[...]
Writing Memoir: A Confession and a Question

Writing Memoir: A Confession and a Question

CONFESSION TIME. This week, I had planned to write about a topic that stymies many memoir writers — how to write about family members. When you write about your life, you will, at some point, wonder how much to include about your family members. In order to tell your story, you may uncover family secrets, bring the once unspeakable into print. You might portray them in a less-than-stellar light. You may worry that family members will dispute your version of events. Will they be offended, hate you or, worse, take you to court? Writing about family is a controversial subject, with seemingly[...]
Strengthen Your Writing - Kill Your Thought Verbs

Strengthen Your Writing - Kill Your Thought Verbs

WHEN LEARNING THE CRAFT OF WRITING — which, as far as I am concerned, is a never-ending state of being — we often hear the refrain that we should “show, not tell." “Showing” means writing in scene, using physical actions, sense-based details, and dialogue to create the story, rather than explaining the actions, thoughts, and feelings of our characters. To be successful, both fiction and creative nonfiction, such as memoir, must draw readers into the story through their imaginations. This only occurs through the use of concrete details, not abstract words. Along these lines, I recently ran across a 2013 article written by[...]