Mindmapping Your Memoir | Part 1

by Marylee MacDonald in Apps & Software, For Memoir Writers

Mindmapping software can help writers untangle the knots in a memoir’s storyline. A mindmap is a brainstorming tool that can help you in the following scenarios: before writing your first draft, or when revising. When you’re writing your first draft, you can use mindmaps to play around with focus. Even on your first pass through […]

Writing Your Memoir | A Step-by-Step Guide

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers, For Memoir Writers

Writing a memoir will force you to dig deep in the archives of your soul. When you recall the past and try to figure out just what it is that’s compelling you write a memoir, you’ll find yourself looking through old photos, postcards, letters, and newspaper clippings. Writing a memoir can be as overwhelming as […]

Writing A Memoir | 5 Common Misconceptions

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers, For Memoir Writers

So you’ve always dreamed of writing a memoir. Where should you start, and how can you get a handle on the big and small turning points, traumas, and people that constitute your life? Several subscribers to this blog are writing memoirs, and I want to help them get started (or finished). Are You Confused? Writing […]

What Makes A Good First Line?

A good first line is one that draws the reader into the world of the story. Kick off your story with a sentence that makes the reader want to read the next one, and so on, until the end. A good first line can entice the reader by doing one or more of the following: […]

Limited Third Point-of-View Explained Simply

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Limited third person point-of-view (POV) lets you experience the world through the eyes of a single character. The experience is so intimate that you’ll soon begin to hear the character’s voice inside your head. As an author you’ll be especially interested in knowing about limited third because of its potential to build a close emotional […]

Twitter Tips for New Writers | My “Man In Cairo”

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Who Need Readers

Is Twitter a waste of time or an essential investment every new writer ought to make? In the age of the internet, Twitter has proven to be a challenge and an opportunity. Like most authors, I’d far rather be writing than doing anything else, but if I only wrote and never took advantage of the […]

The Challenges of Writing Historical Fiction

Writing historical fiction is tough. You have to do the research on the historical facts, and then you have to “make it real.” (A few months ago I wrote a blog post about some of the craft challenges in writing historical fiction. You can read it here.) But, even after succeeding in writing a readable […]

Fictional Characters | Shhh! Secrets Revealed!

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Beginning Writers

Know your fictional characters before you start your novel, and you’ll have a much easier time figuring out your plot. That’s because plot (which is action) arises from character, and not the other way around. If you can get your characters to share their hopes, dreams, fears, and secrets, you’ll know which obstacles to place […]

Meet Matthew Peters | Thriller Author Shares Words of Wisdom

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Ready to Publish

Matthew Peters writes page-turning fiction, and he’s the author of a new novel, The Brothers’ Keepers. Early reviewers have compared The Brothers’ Keepers to Dan Brown’s De Vinci Code, but Matthew Peters’s novel is actually better written. It’s the kind of novel that a few years back, might have been snapped up by an agent and found wide distribution in […]

Anton Chekhov | How Many Characters Should A Story Have?

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Readers

Anton Chekhov’s vivid characters live in our imaginations to this day. One of my favorites is “Lady With the Pet Dog,” also translated as “Lady With the Little Dog.” If you’ve never read his stories, or haven’t read them in a long time, here’s a site with audio recordings of them. Sit with the characters, as […]