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Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothersby Kate Hopper
Synopses & Reviews
Writing Is an Act of Discovery
Motherhood inspired the powerful prose of Anne Lamott, Susan Cheever, Ayelet Waldman and Alice Walker, launching them, and many others, to the top of bestseller lists. Award-winning writer Kate Hopper has spent nearly a decade teaching women to write down the bones of motherhood. Now, in Use Your Words, her expert guidance will encourage you to write the stories you need to write, whether your goal is to blog, publish magazine articles, or pen the next blockbuster memoir.
"Many of us mama-bloggers have stumbled into our particular subject matter without giving much thought to what we are doing. Luckily for this second-rate Erma Bombeck, the lovely, smart, thoughtful writer Kate Hopper has just published Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers, which offers great guidance for writing about your family." Redbook
"Your story? Guess what: it matters. And Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers will get it out of you and on the page." Breed 'em and Weep
"Kate Hopper puts her expertise as a writer with a MFA in creative writing, Literary Mama editor, blogger, Loft Literary Center instructor, and mother to good use in a guide meant to be underlined, highlighted, reread, bookmarked, carried around, shared, by countless mothers." Small Press Reviews
"I can see using this over and over. It is not paced to be read in one sitting. It's more of a workbook that will only help if you sit down and try it...do the prompts. Interact with the essays. Make notes. And go back and do it again."The Black Sheep Dances
"An excellent resource...[Kate Hopper] probes you to think further, while teaching you how to do it. I really enjoyed this book and will reach for it repeatedly to help me in my own memoirs." Planet Weidknecht, the blog of Lisa Weidknecht
"Kate Hopper is warm, encouraging and someone who knows her stuff....For mothers looking to publish or just make sense of a story gestating in their heads, Use Your Words is a good place to start." Brain, Child
"Finally a book to teach parents how to write! In readable, interesting, practical prose, Use Your Words gives moms what they need to know to write about their children's most precious moments. A tremendous resource for bloggers, teachers, lay and professional writers." Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., author of Toddler: Real-Life Stories of Those Fickle, Irrational, Urgent, Tiny People We Love
"Turning personal experience into readable prose is a daunting process for anyone, and carving out the time to do so isn't easy with a house full of short people in need of constant attention. In Use Your Words, Kate Hopper offers a practical and accessible roadmap for any mother who'd like to get started. Part instructor, part motivator, part best friend, Kate guides mother-writers from idea through finished product, offering encouragement and hard-earned wisdom along the way." Hope Edelman, best-selling author of Motherless Daughters
"The only reason I've ever wanted to visit Minnesota was for the chance to meet Kate Hopper and take one of her writing classes. Thankfully, Kate has translated her successful Use Your Words writing class onto paper and created a personal, practical guide for any mother writer. Grounding each lesson with terrific essays and poems by a wide variety of writers, Kate offers a solid education in creative writing plus a range of approachable assignments, designed to make readers put the book down and start writing." Caroline Grant, Editor-in-Chief of Literary Mama and Co-editor of Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life
"Kate Hopper knows: how to inspire the budding writer to find her voice and her truth; what it takes to keep that same writer going; and the words of advice and inspiration every writer needs to hear. This is a beautiful, polished guide to craft and storytelling for writing about motherhood and beyond." Vicki Forman, author of This Lovely Life: A Memoir of Premature Motherhood
"Use Your Words brings a unique voice to the world of writing guides: honest, forthright, funny. Reading it felt to me no different than sitting down to have a writing tete-a-tete with a literary friend and practicing writer." Bonnie Rough, author of Carrier: Untangling the Danger in my DNA
"Part writing workshop, part anthology, part mothers group between two covers, Use Your Words is so much more than an instruction manual. It is also a readable, powerful call to the page for every woman in the process of giving birth to herself as a writer." Katrina Kenison, author of The Gift of an Ordinary Day and Mitten Strings for God
"Kate Hopper's Use Your Words demonstrates how the universal experiences of motherhood can be transformative through storytelling, and offers practical, thoughtful, and insightful guidance to any writer interested in the process of translating life experience into story." Andrea Buchanan, author of The Daring Book for Girls, and Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It
Use Your Words introduces the art of creative nonfiction to women who want to give written expression to their lives as mothers. Written by award-winning teacher and writer, Kate Hopper, this book will help women find the heart of their writing, learn to use motherhood as a lens through which to write the world, and turn their motherhood stories into art.
Each chapter of Use Your Words focuses on an element of craft and contains a lecture, a published essay, and writing exercises that will serve as jumping-off points for the readers own writing. Chapter topics include: the importance of using concrete details, an overview of creative nonfiction as a genre, character development, voice, humor, tense and writing the "hard stuff," reflection and back-story, structure, revision, and publishing. The content of each lecture is aligned with the essay/poem in that chapter to help readers more easily grasp the elements of craft being discussed. Together the chapters provide a unique opportunity for mother writers to learn and grow as writers.
Use Your Words takes the approach that creative writing can be taught, and this underscores each chapter. When students learn to read like writers, to notice how a piece is put together, and to question the choices a writer makes, they begin to think like writers. When they learn to ground their writing in concrete, sensory details and begin to understand how to create believable characters and realistic dialogue, their own writing improves.
Use Your Words reflects Kate's style as a teacher, guiding the reader in a straightforward, nurturing, and passionate voice. As one student noted in a class evaluation: "Kate is a born writer and teacher, and her enthusiasm for essays about motherhood and for teaching the nuts and bolts of writing so that ordinary mothers have the tools to write their stories is a gift to the world. She is raising the value of motherhood in our society as she helps mothers build their confidence and strengthen their game as writers."
About the Author
Kate Hopper teaches writing online and at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Kate holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and a Sustainable Arts Grant. Her writing has appeared in a number of journals, including Brevity, Literary Mama, and the New York Times online. She is an editor at Literary Mama. For more information about Kate's writing and classes, visit www.katehopper.com.
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