When I started writing, one major thing I had absolutely no idea about was narrative structure. I thought I just had to write a good story – and that’s true, but it was only later that I discovered how essential structure is to good stories.
It took me an embarrassing number of years to even realise this, and then I had to learn how to actually do it. That took a less embarrassing number of years.
In fact, once I started microplotting, scaffolding scenes and applying story structure to my writing, that’s when I suddenly started getting interest from publishers.
That’s why I was so excited to delve into these aspects of writing with the fabulous Michelle Barraclough on the Writers Book Club podcast.
I loved her concept from her very first episode: “It’s a no-holds-barred insight into an author’s writing craft and process, applied to a real-life novel.”
Or in this case, memoir.
In Writers Book Club episode 11, I walk through the process behind writing my memoir How to Be Australian, including how to shape your voice on the page, how I structured the memoir to best reflect the narrative and character arc, how I plot scenes and specifically focuses on scene turns, the role of truth in memoir, and the lessons from fiction writing that help with writing memoir.
Michelle asks great questions, including why I decided to write a memoir in the first place, what that process looked like, when I decided on the themes.
We also talk about what lessons I took from fiction, how to include conflict and stakes in memoir, and the pesky concept of “truth”.
I give some readings How to Be Australian to illustrate my approach to some of these topics.
Plus we talk about the eternal question – what does my husband feel about my memoir?! (He’s the other major character.)
Michelle is a writer whose first novel, As I Am, a contemporary drama, was Highly Commended in the 2017 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers and earned her a 12-month mentorship at Hachette. She’s also a lot of fun.
And if you’re interested in starting a memoir, or would like to get some more insights into the process now that you’ve delved in, you’re in luck! I’ve got an upcoming online workshop just for you.
Tips and Tricks to Writing Your Memoir
Tuesday 22 February 2022, 6:15-7:30 pm AEDT
Online via Zoom
So you’re thinking of writing a memoir and you’re not sure how to start. Or you’ve already started and you’re not sure how to keep going.
Writing a memoir can be a therapeutic process. But it can also be challenging, whether you’re doing it to better understand yourself and the events of your life, or with the aim of publication.
In this workshop from published author Ashley Kalagian Blunt, you’ll learn tips and tricks to make the process easier and rewarding.
This is a workshop for novice writers in the beginning stages of writing a memoir or thinking about starting one. Get your ticket here >>