Friday, September 27, 2013

Never Give Up! A Winner Tells You Why: A Guest Post by Memoirist Elizabeth diGrazia

Elizabeth diGrazia joined me last week on Madeline Island, where she worked on her storyboard for her memoir-in-progress--the same memoir that won her a recent place in the renowned Loft Mentor Series, sponsored by the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.   

Being a Mentor Series award-winner means a year of close mentorship by a well-known writer, and Elizabeth was thrilled to hear that her manuscript won.  Here she tells exactly the process she went through and how long it took.  Her story is very inspiring to all writers, especially book writers, so I wanted to share it with you this week.

Be sure to check out Elizabeth's blog at WordSisters to read more.
I was a Loft Mentor Series finalist four times.

This doesn't count the many times that I submitted to the Loft Mentor Series and wasn't a finalist.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Some Notes from Bestselling Author Cheryl Strayed about Writing Wild

Bestsellers make me curious.  Sometimes they are worth attention, sometimes they are all hype and bad taste--a great example of the latter is 50 Shades of Grey, which sold 700 million copies for content instead of good writing.   

Then there are books that make it big and deserve it.  One of these is the memoir by Cheryl Strayed, Wild.

I read Strayed's Wild and her compilation of advice from "The Rumpus" column, Tiny Beautiful Things.  Both books were so well crafted, so engaging, I've become one of those readers who are eager to know more about Strayed's writing practice, her ideas, and her book structure techniques--anything I can absorb.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Writing Hopeful, Inspirational Books--The Story behind Nancy McMillan's March Farm

March Farm in Fall

Nancy McMillan had already fallen in love with the beautiful March Farm in Bethlehem, Connecticut, by the time she decided to write a book about it.  She'd met an author at a farm event who had written about a dairy farm in Eastern Connecticut, using photographs and narratives to document a year in its life.  

Nancy kept saying to herself, "Someone should do that for March Farm here in Bethlehem."
"You know what happens when you start saying that: you're that someone," she says.   

Nancy had already gotten a few articles published; she wrote a series of theater reviews for Warner Theater and essays for Edible Nutmeg.  And she was passionate about the locavore movement and sustainability.  So writing about March Farms fit her on many levels.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I Did Everything Wrong at First--An Interview with Award-Winning Novelist Lynne Spreen

After a lifetime as a corporate suit, putting all her creativity into keeping employees from fighting with each other, Lynne Spreen, author of the debut novel, Dakota Blues, was finally able to cut back to part-time and write. Unfortunately Lynne discovered that, for all her brilliance in composing corporate memos, she knew almost nothing about constructing a novel.  

She says, "Dakota Blues was my first novel and I did everything wrong at first, which necessitated having to go back and rethink everything a million times. Or at least it seemed like a million. Maybe only a thousand.  I spent years learning--attending classes, conferences, and reading books and articles." 

Dakota Blues went on to receive the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Finalist Award for Women's Issues.

Lynne shares her experience as a new writer who battled the learning curve of a first novel--and came out successfully.