Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blog Award #2

A huge thanks to Liberty from 'Word Wanderings' for my second blog award. I post a bit about me on this blog, but I haven't really posted much about my first book. Some of you might have read the post I wrote on how that memoir came to be. But I have many other concerns about the delicate art of writing what could be termed a 'misery memoir'. So here are ten honest thoughts, questions and worries about my life in the process of writing my memoir.
  1. Does it matter? I mean does it really matter to anyone other than me that I have written a memoir about my abusive childhood and coming to terms with that pain? I constantly battle with the thought that maybe memoirs are only relevant to their authors. Deep down I don't believe that, but still... the thoughts are there.
  2. My memoir is non-conventional. I created a metaphorical character that I named Beast who I used to confront and deal with the pain. The book an interwoven story between the struggles of the inner world of these 'characters' and my life in the 'real world' above. I sometimes worry that my work doesn't fit 'type' well. How non-conventional can a memoir be and still have a chance at publication?
  3. Obviously the work is non-fiction. I worry about not being believed. I worry that my parents might try to sue me. I worry about my father's reactions. I worry about libel and vetting the manuscript and well, I just worry...
  4. I am brave enough to stand behind my words, but I feel for my mother who may not be. Even though at the moment she is in full support of my writing.
  5. It is not a pretty read. Is there room enough in this world for another 'heavy' read? Will it shed light or just lift the lid on more shadows? I am hoping for 'shedding light' but there may also be a place for 'shadow shifting.'
  6. Is there a publisher out there with the 'balls' to publish it? Is there an agent who would champion such raw and intense writing? There are strong Christian themes and not always favourable view points about God and the Church. The book has the potential to ruffle feathers. Actually, I rather enjoy feather ruffling...
  7. How do you even go about querying a memoir? My understanding is that you query it like a novel. Yet it is nothing like a novel in many ways. And in other ways it is exactly like one. This is a HUGE learning curve for me.
  8. Do I write a synopsis or a book proposal or both? Memoirs seem to fall into the large crack between novels and self-help books. It's not a book of facts and figures and I don't offer any ten step plans. Just the chance to see how someone else travelled the road out from hell and hurting. Really, it's a story. It just happens to be a true one.
  9. My memoir is currently in a massive competition. And frankly, I think it would be an act of God if it even came close to being short-listed. I think the work may have gone out too unrefined and a bit early. But it's out there. I have a couple of big fans of my writing. My editor and my counsellor, but I am interested to see how it fairs in the world beyond them.
  10. I am anything but precious about my writing. My counsellor has a copy of the manuscript and has (with my permission) shared the work with others. I find their heart felt praise hard to accept. I deal better with criticism. I know, I know!
I am passing this award along and challenge the following amazing blog authors to share their own honest insights about whatever the heck they feel insightful about :)
Wendy from 'On Words and Upwards' (here's to reaching 'upwards.')
Melody from 'Newly Minted Mrs.' (remember being 'newly minted'?!)
Gary Corby from 'A Dead Man fell from the Sky' (very cool title)
Sherrinda from 'A Wanna Be Writer.' (I wanna be too)
T. Anne from 'White Platonic Dreams.' (wish my dreams were white)
There are so many other amazing authors and inspiring writers I follow, but you all have this award!
I look forward to hearing the honesty others have to share. And if you happen to be a writer who has written your own memoir or know of someone who has, I'd love to hear from you.

That's it for me and 'list posts' for a while. Sorry, I know I have been flogging them a bit lately.
Check back for an upcoming author interview. I will post details tomorrow.


  1. Awww, thanks Tabitha! This is way cool! I am honored! I love your honest writing facts. I have thought about entering contests this fall, but know my WIP needs alot of work. You are brave to start putting your work out there! You should definitely let the praise of your work sink in and validate your hard work! You deserve is a huge accomplishment!

  2. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. That's a quote from Wayne Gretzky! I would read a memoir if it was well-written and interesting. Heck, aren't we all putting little pieces of our lives into our books? I know I am.

  3. Wow...I for sure think your memoire would touch many people. I've never dealt with abuse, but I know it would still touch me. And I know it would inspire the millions of women who have faced abuse. Pretty awesome stuff, Tab. Congrats on the award!

  4. I have two friends how have written or are currently writing memoirs (one is a "coming out" story and one is about mental illness), and they assure me that memoirs are queried like novels, because of the similarity of narrative flow. And you write a synopsis like a novel, as well.

    I think that unconventionality could be a real plus, to make a work stand out from other memoirs! And I doubt I'd want to read an abuse story that was somehow packaged into a "pretty read" because that would undercut the raw impact that the experience deserved...

    Best of luck to you and your book, and I am in awe of your willingness to be open about your experiences. Feather-ruffling is good. I'm rooting for you!

  5. Wow thank you for the award! You just made my whole day!

    Your memoir sounds interesting. Is it literary non-fiction(ish)? Stephanie's right, we all put ourselves into our novels. :) I hope the book helped to heal you and I think you should deff. get used to being praised! You rock.

  6. Thank you all so much for your heart felt comments. You have no idea how encouraging that is to me right now.
    Sherrinda- thank you and you are very welcome. I always enjoy your blog
    Stephanie- I love that quote and I will try to remember it when things feel a bit pointless. And I agree- we are all putting who we are into our writing.
    Katie- always a joy to have you stopping by. Thanks for your comments. I am very much hoping that my memoir will eventually get out there and inspire others.
    CKBH- thanks for that info about your friends. It's good to know that I am on the right track with the synopsis and queries. I really appreicaite your comments. Thanks for 'rooting for me' and I agree- feather ruffling is good :)
    T. Anne- Your are so welcome. You have a great blog. Always a good read. Enjoy the award. Can't wait to read what you post. Yeah, my memoir is very much literary non-fiction. That's why I relate to so many of your (and others) posts about writing novels and character and plot development. The same rules apply to memoirs. In my opinion they still have to be incredibly well written. So I learn heaps from all the other writers out there.
    Thank you for your very kind comments. :)

  7. Congrats on the award! And to the winners. :-)

    I think unconventional is a big plus. Look at Angela's Ashes. No quotes anywhere in the beginning, maybe not even through the whole thing. A memoir is about a person, but it also has to be relatable. :-) I don't know that much about them because I don't read them. It sounds like it will touch people, and I think that's the biggest thing about memoir. I feel for you about your parents too. Ouch. Some things have to be brought to light though. Good luck with it! Oh, Mary DeMuth has a memoir coming out. She had a bad childhood too. You might want to look her up and see if she has any good pointers about memoirs. :-)

  8. Thanks Jessica, I will look Mary DeMuth up.
    At the end of the day I will probably have to settle for unconventional, because that's who I am. I am happy with that :) Thanks for your encouragement.

  9. Hi Tab, Check out and also - I think both could potentially be interested in your memoirs.

    Aside from that, I really identified with your ponderings about your memoirs, because I have had similar thoughts. Yes things were bad, but do other people really want to know that? If it were to be published, would it hurt other people? How can I make something so terrible, uplifting? How is my story any better/different from what is already out there?

    If nothing else, I comfort myself with the thoughts that it was incredibly therapeutic for me to write my story (better out than in!); and one day my children may read it and understand a little more what makes their mum "tick".

  10. Thanks shelley. Glad to have you back in the land of blogging posts. I missed ya!

    Janet- Thank you. I had no idea you wrote a memoir. What other hidden talents lie up your sleeve? Not only do you have your own magazine, edit and write for it, but you also wrote a memoir?! AND you're a mum AND you survived your past. I think you might be my new hero. Do you also leap tall buildings in a single bound? :)
    Seriously, thank you for the links to those publishers. Funnily enough I actually have submission details for both of them. So I might just try them. I was poking around awhile ago and found Ark House. Another writer also suggested Wombat Books to me. I think my manuscript still needs work though. Now that I have let the dust settle a little on it, I think it could be refined even more. It just went through a second edit by a third party after extensive rewrites, but I'm still not happy with it. When are we writers ever happy with our work???
    I relate to your last comment "one day my children may read it and understand a little more what makes their mum tick." So true.
    Are you going to attempt publication for your memoir? Or have you already been down that road?
    Blessings Janet. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. I read a lot of memoirs, and usually enjoy them. If you are looking for readers to help you further refine it I'd be willing - although be warned I may take a long time on it.

    Thank you for the award. I'll have to think a little bit about insights though. Did you know, insightful is hard. /whine. :) I'll let you know when I get into my head.

  12. Thank you Melody. I might just take you up on that offer. At the moment I am rewriting based on latest edit suggestions, but I'll let you know. Thanks for the offer. I am very interested in letting it be read by others for their feedback. At the moment I have no critique group or partner, so I am on the look out.