Writer’s Workshop March 17th

To further the festival’s mission over the year from one festival to the next, our plan is to offer a series of free workshops and events.  Our first workshop, “All the Write Stuff” took place on March 17th at Kensington Park Library, co sponsored by the Kensington Day of the Book Festival and the Kensington Park Friends of the Library.  It was attended by over 37 people.

Thank you to Steve and Felicia Piacente for organizing and presenting this event, to Kensington Park Library and Friends of the Library for hosting and cosponsoring.  It was a big success!  And thank you to our workshop leaders: Dawit Gebremichael Habte, Trish Earnest, Melissa Scholes Young, Nancy Naomi Carlson, and Laura-Leigh Palmer.

Here are tips on writing from our workshop leaders:

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Writing Your Memoir by Patricia Earnest 3/17/2018

Many of us have had someone say, “you need to write a book.” Or we think that we will write about our thoughts, experiences or ideas, someday.

Do you have a deep desire to write your story? If so, think about what your motives are for doing so. Do you want to tell an interesting story and dream of becoming published some day or do you want to make money? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, keep in mind, that getting published and making money on a memoir do not often come to fruition.

I have spoken and consulted with numerous folks in the publishing, script writing and editing profession. Most of them will tell you that almost everyone believes they have a unique story to tell.

If you are committed to this journey, here are my recommendations based on my experience.

  1. Consider your time management. Do you have the time for a writing project? Honestly, I started writing my story as my sons were growing older and did not need me as much. Despite my being a single mother and working, it was an emotionally difficult time for me. Writing gave me solace. It was a distraction. But once I started the undertaking, I was committed to finishing.
  2. Begin with an outline. This will become your roadmap throughout your writing.
  3. Keep a notebook with you for thoughts, memories or events that you think are worth including in your story.  Write down everything that comes to mind. There will be moments when you remember something relevant and you don’t want to forget.
  4. Write as many vivid memories and events that you feel are noteworthy. At the beginning of each chapter, draw in your audience so they will want to keep reading. At the end of each chapter, provide a summary in the last paragraph.
  5. A memoir is your perception of the truth. This doesn’t give permission for falsehoods.
  6. Interview people to confirm facts. Most individuals are happy to provide information for your story.
  7. Make your reader present. Describe smells, sounds, scenes, colors, etc. You want your audience to feel like they are there.
  8. Is there a theme or beating heart that is threaded through your story?  
  9. Decide if you want to change names of people, institutions, etc. If you are using real names of family or acquaintances from your life, request permission. Additionally, see if you can get written approval that you can use real names.
  10. Consult with an attorney. They can advise you on the legalities of using names and particular facts that may be harmful to others or their reputation.
  11. Edit, edit, edit! I cannot say this enough. Find someone locally or a student who can assist you with this. Be aware you will need content and grammatical editing of your work. This will be an expense.
  12. Happy writing.

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