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1 Burnside Reference- Writing Nonfiction

Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir

by

Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"If you are writing a memoir, read Fearless Confessions. There are some things that can't be taught in a book, but Sue Silverman teaches you everything that can be! The author of two stunning memoirs herself, she breaks down the complex weaving of a story into discrete elements, such as detail, voice, and plot, with clear, useful guidance on each aspect. Invaluable!" Ellen Bass, author of The Human Line

Review:

"Sue Silverman's Fearless Confessions is a must. I love the way she exposes the process she used in creating her much-acclaimed Love Sick — its struggles, exposures, and empowerment — to teach. Silverman uses her story to guide readers through their own process, like the master nonfiction writer she is: how to grasp the use of the senses, mimetic detail, scene, and much more. Her discussion of the Voice of Innocence and the Voice of Experience is sure to become a classic. This book is truly indispensable." Suzanne Paola, author of Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction

Synopsis:

Whenever a memoirist gives a reading, someone in the audience is sure to ask: How did your family react? Revisiting our pasts and exploring our experiences, we often reveal more of our nearest and dearest than they might prefer. This volume navigates the emotional and literary minefields that any writer of family stories or secrets must travel when depicting private lives for public consumption.

Essays by twenty-five memoirists, including Faith Adiele, Alison Bechdel, Jill Christman, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Rigoberto González, Robin Hemley, Dinty W. Moore, Bich Minh Nguyen, and Mimi Schwartz, explore the fraught territory of family history told from one perspective, which, from another angle in the family drama, might appear quite different indeed. In her introduction to this book, Joy Castro, herself a memoirist, explores the ethical dilemmas of writing about family and offers practical strategies for this tricky but necessary subject.

A sustained and eminently readable lesson in the craft of memoir, Family Trouble serves as a practical guide for writers to find their own version of the truth while still respecting family boundaries.

About the Author

Sue William Silverman is a faculty advisor at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and the associate editor of the journal Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. Her first book, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You (Georgia), received the AWP Award in Creative Nonfiction. She is also the author of Love Sick: One Woman's Journey through Sexual Addiction (made into a Lifetime TV movie) and Hieroglyphics in Neon, a collection of poems.

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

Product Details

ISBN:
9780820331669
Author:
Silverman, Sue William
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Author:
Castro, Joy
Subject:
Autobiography
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
Composition & Creative Writing - Nonfiction
Subject:
Composition & Creative Writing - Academic
Subject:
Autobiography -- Authorship.
Subject:
Composition & Creative Writing
Subject:
Reference-Student Writing Guides
Subject:
Reference/Writing
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20090631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
5 figures
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 0.79 lb

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Reference » Writing » Nonfiction
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Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820331669 Reviews:
"Review" by , "If you are writing a memoir, read Fearless Confessions. There are some things that can't be taught in a book, but Sue Silverman teaches you everything that can be! The author of two stunning memoirs herself, she breaks down the complex weaving of a story into discrete elements, such as detail, voice, and plot, with clear, useful guidance on each aspect. Invaluable!"
"Review" by , "Sue Silverman's Fearless Confessions is a must. I love the way she exposes the process she used in creating her much-acclaimed Love Sick — its struggles, exposures, and empowerment — to teach. Silverman uses her story to guide readers through their own process, like the master nonfiction writer she is: how to grasp the use of the senses, mimetic detail, scene, and much more. Her discussion of the Voice of Innocence and the Voice of Experience is sure to become a classic. This book is truly indispensable."
"Synopsis" by , Whenever a memoirist gives a reading, someone in the audience is sure to ask: How did your family react? Revisiting our pasts and exploring our experiences, we often reveal more of our nearest and dearest than they might prefer. This volume navigates the emotional and literary minefields that any writer of family stories or secrets must travel when depicting private lives for public consumption.

Essays by twenty-five memoirists, including Faith Adiele, Alison Bechdel, Jill Christman, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Rigoberto González, Robin Hemley, Dinty W. Moore, Bich Minh Nguyen, and Mimi Schwartz, explore the fraught territory of family history told from one perspective, which, from another angle in the family drama, might appear quite different indeed. In her introduction to this book, Joy Castro, herself a memoirist, explores the ethical dilemmas of writing about family and offers practical strategies for this tricky but necessary subject.

A sustained and eminently readable lesson in the craft of memoir, Family Trouble serves as a practical guide for writers to find their own version of the truth while still respecting family boundaries.

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