Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir

Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir

5.0 3
by Sue William Silverman
     
 

ISBN-10: 082033166X

ISBN-13: 9780820331669

Pub. Date: 06/25/2009

Publisher: University of Georgia Press


Everyone has a story to tell. Fearless Confessions is a guidebook for people who want to take possession of their lives by putting their experiences down on paper--or in a Web site or e-book. Enhanced with illustrative examples from many different writers as well as writing exercises, this guide helps writers navigate a range of issues from craft to ethics…  See more details below

Overview


Everyone has a story to tell. Fearless Confessions is a guidebook for people who want to take possession of their lives by putting their experiences down on paper--or in a Web site or e-book. Enhanced with illustrative examples from many different writers as well as writing exercises, this guide helps writers navigate a range of issues from craft to ethics to marketing and will be useful to both beginners and more accomplished writers.

The rise of interest in memoir recognizes the power of the genre to move and affect not just individual readers but society at large. Sue William Silverman covers traditional writing topics such as metaphor, theme, plot, and voice and also includes chapters on trusting memory and cultivating the courage to tell one's truth in the face of forces--from family members to the media--who would prefer that people with inconvenient pasts and views remain silent.

Silverman, an award-winning memoirist, draws upon her own personal and professional experience to provide an essential resource for transforming life into words that matter. Fearless Confessions is an atlas that contains maps to the remarkable places in each person's life that have yet to be explored.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820331669
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
06/25/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
768,098
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents


Preface, xiii

One
The Longest Paragraph, 1
Writing Exercises

two
Savory Words: The First Bite of Your Story, 10
Don’t Just State Your Story — Reveal Your Story | Move Readers
with Active Words | Following a Sensory Trail | Writing
Exercises | A Note on Genre
For Your Reading Pleasure:
“Candy Cigarettes,” by Anne Panning, 21

three
Writing on Key: A Few Notes about Theme, 23
False Starts | Starting True | The Colors We Choose | Writing Exercises
For Your Reading Pleasure:
“Rob Me Again,” by Katherine Jamieson, 32

four
Plotting Your Life, 35
Finding the Arc of Your Story | Motivating Your Plot |
Thunderous Plots | The Structure of Plot | Crossing the Finish Line |
Turning Real Life into Art | Writing Exercises
For Your Reading Pleasure:
“Scavengers,” by Katy Read, 47

five
Between Innocence and Experience: Finding Your Voice(s), 50
Using Multiple Voices | Your Everyday Voice and Your
Literary Voice | Guiding Voices | Writing Exercises
For Your Reading Pleasure:
“The Visit,” by Candance L. Greene, 66

six
Mock Moons and Metaphor: Crafting Memoir into Art, 68
Finding Your Metaphors | The Metaphoric Memoir |
Metaphor: A Window onto the World | Writing Exercise
For Your Reading Pleasure:
“Tetanus, You Understand?” by Ellen Morris Prewitt, 79

seven
Writing in Style, 83
Your Story, Your Style | The Muscular Sentence | More Than
Just And | Not To Be | Dialogue in Memoir | Past or Present Tense? |
These Boots Are Made for Writing | Writing Exercise
For Your Reading Pleasure:
“The Man behind the Shower Curtain,” by Julie Mullany, 97

eight
Marketing Your Memoir, 98
Getting Started | Publishing Outlets: Pros and Cons of Each |
How to Decide What’s Best for Your Book | Promoting Yourself
as a Professional Speaker | Web Opportunities for Your Memoir |
The Importance of All Our Voices | Writing Exercises

nine
Confessional and (Finally) Proud of It, 112
Western Civilization in an Eggshell | One Secret, One Word, at a Time |
Word by Word | The Courage to Show This to Your Mother (Penance
Optional) | Truth and Memory in Memoir | What Readers Understand
about Memoirs | What the Media Doesn’t Understand about
Confessional Stories | A Hysterical [sic] History
of Criticism | Writing Exercises

Appendix one
The Meandering River:
An Overview of the Subgenres of Creative Nonfiction, 143
Port of Call 1: Biography | Port of Call 2: Autobiography | Port of Call 3:
Immersion | Port of Call 4: Memoir | Port of Call 5: Personal Essay |
Port of Call 6: Meditative Essay | Port of Call 7: Lyric Essay |
Toward the Sea | Waters Ebb and Flow

Appendix two
Three Confessional Essays, 158
“From Process to Product: Using Print-on-Demand to Publish,”
by Lynn C. Tolson, 158
“Gazing: Writing from the Womb,” by Karen Salyer McElmurray, 163
“The Weight of a Word,” by Michelle Otero, 169

Appendix three
For Your Reading Pleasure: Four Full-Length Essays, 174
“Independence Day, Manley Hot Springs, Alaska,” by Lisa D. Chavez, 175
“After the Dash,” by Michael Hemery, 183
“The Beautiful City of Tirzah,” by Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, 189
“The Pat Boone Fan Club,” by Sue William Silverman, 201

Appendix four

Reading List of Contemporary
Creative Nonfiction, 212

Works Cited, 231

Biographical Notes, 235

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Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have ever thought about writing your story, but thought: I can't do that I don't know how to write What will my mother say? I have nothing to say anyway .... then this book was written for you. This book is the antidote for all of the voices that demand silence, be they literary critics or family members. Sue Silverman not only guides the reader through the thorny issues of telling the "truth" in memoir, but she also provides real, practical guidelines for writing better prose, as well as innovative ways to market your work. The result is an inspiring, funny, and incredibly insightful book. I particularly loved her writing exercises and the example essays that she chose to illustrate her various points. Silverman also has first-hand experience in writing about "confessional" subject matter--she's the author of two memoirs, one about growing up in an incestuous family, and one about sex addiction. Her gentle prodding--"Write anyway! Whatever the roadblock. Write anyway!" is backed up by solid information and great advice. Her critique of literary and pop cultural denigration of memoir is sharp and to the point, and among the best I've ever read. Sue's book is a gift to us all. I'm grateful that she wrote it, and that I had the opportunity to read it--and now I've got to get back to work on my memoir.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lynn_C_Tolson More than 1 year ago
Sue William Silverman was my role model for memoir because she had dared to write about issues usually silenced in our society. (see) Then, I had the pleasure of meeting her at Vermont College of Fine Arts, post-graduate writer's conference, where she was faculty/advisor. She taught the group metaphor, voice, and technique, and encouraged expression from the writer within each individual. Sue urged us toward Fearless Confessions, an apt title for the Writer's Guide to Memoir. Despite my notes from the conference, and hand-outs from Sue, I wished I had a "go-to" guide at my fingertips. Sue has made such a guide available in Fearless Confessions. The book contains chapters that have writing exercises and inserts with tips. Sue also arranged for appropriate articles by other authors, which exemplify what Sue is conveying in the body of the chapter. Sue generously offers examples of her own. I was especially moved by her revealing essay The Pat Boone Fan Club. That is what a memoirist does: revealing life matter that one thinks is individual, yet the emotions are universal. Some confessional memoirs put into words what others are thinking, but are afraid to say aloud. Sue dares us to dig deep and write down, such as with an exercise that asks the reader to "Write a short paragraph about a secret you've never told anyone, except maybe a therapist." Sue explains the craft of writing, and elements such as "the voice of innocence" and "the voice of experience" She leads us to websites, books, marketing opportunities, and publishing options. (note of disclosure: Sue used my essay From Process to Product: Using Print-on-Demand to Publish in Appendix two). I eagerly awaited Fearless Confessions because I wanted to hold Sue Silverman's knowledge and ability in the palm of my hand. Sue packs more in 237 pages than I ever expected. If you want to write a memoir, let Sue's "go-to" guide you to write it right.