Conversations: 3/3/2017



Are you one of those writers who learns by doing—learns by experience? I am, too. Yet there is so much that I want to learn about and skills I want to develop that I’d need to live ten lifetimes in order to do and/or experience it all. READING has become my university, but not the textbook educational delivery system that we most often think of as the source for higher education. I learn best through story—either personal experiences shared with the passion they were lived, well-researched historical fiction, or inspired writings by people of deep faith who are telling their story through the beauty of  belief.  So it is that this month I’ll mention a few books written by authors who meet my criteria of educational reading—with an added comment (of course) about how these types of books can enhance the education of all writers no matter what genre we write.

Author William Guthrie calls himself “a student of the human condition.” He’s written several books in various genres. However, the book I’m highlighting today is ahhh Biography/Memoir: A Woman of Valor, A Woman of Strength: The Latchmin Bridgelall Story. This story is heralded as a “touching story” written by the son of an “amazing family matriarch whose sacrifice, courage and wisdom shaped a generation of children.” AND…I will add…will continue shaping generations of children yet to be born.

This is the beauty of Memoir.  Guthrie understands this well and explains it saying: “…if something is not written down or recorded it is lost…. Then the family loses its history and its lore and all that has gone before is virtually lost to future generations. In a fundamental and almost visceral sense, it is what humanizes us on this planet and gives us a sense of identity among billions and billions of other earthlike creatures like ourselves.”

Guthrie also states that “whether we like it or not, we all stand on the shoulders of generations of relatives gone by.” This is also so true of the writers who have gone before us! Therefore, for those of us who have a passion for Memoir/Biography writing it is advised to read the work of the respected biographers such as: Leonie Frieda, author of Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France; John Taliaferro, author of All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt; and Humphrey Carpenter, author of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography.

Here are a few of my basic “tips” that will help you along the road:

  • Photographs are great memory-refreshers
  • Research into specific daily possessions used during various time periods is essential (cars, radios, telephones, etc.)
  • Letters and journals offer insight, but DO NOT over-step the boundaries of their use.
  • Find the voice of the main person the memoir is about and, if possible, the voices of those closest to them.

The main concept I’ve developed over the years about Memoir writing is this: Start from the heart. Don’t be afraid of the guts. Close with inspiration.

AND…don’t hesitate to self-publish! The “ordinary people” we write about have “extraordinary” information for us to share with the world showing us the way to survive the struggles of life with joy, love and laughter.  ⚓︎


ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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