This blog will help you turn memories into meaningful stories for your family. We will sample three techniques to show how to take life experiences and create a memoir to record these events. By the end of this session, we will have drafted an introduction and outline to help them produce personal stories cherished by your family for generations to come.
Helen and Teacher
The Story of my Life
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Borrough's E Publishing Monthly Newsletter; Free to Share
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Boroughs Publishing Group News
Boroughs Announces the Launch
of Lunchbox Romance
We are delighted to announce our new short story line, Lunchbox Romance – delicious short Romances consumable during the lunch hour.
Each story is a delectable romance spanning the sub-genres in Romance fiction. Our inaugural stories include Regencies, Contemporaries, Paranormals, YA and Fantasy.
Among these wonderful morsels of romance is the grand-prize winner of our short story contest @First Sight, The Shop Girl and the Vampire by Ciar Cullen.
Starting soon, you’ll be able to purchase the stories individually or you can sign up for our subscription service, which will provide you with a regular ‘fix’ of stories at a special price. Keep watch for more news on our website, in our monthly Romance Blog and, of course, we’ll update you in September’s Newsletter.
For authors wishing to submit to the Lunchbox Romance line, please visit the Submission Guidelines page on our website. Generally, a Lunchbox Romance is between 6,000 – 10,000 words.
Boroughs About Town
To say we had a blast would be an understatement. From the Literacy Signing:
Too Many Cooks author Shirley Ann Wilder Kentucky Green & Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold author Terry Irene Blain Pack of Lies authors Staci Weber & Sara Dailey
To our Meet & Greet Open House:
Racing with the Wind author Regan Walker (left) & friend Upcoming New Year's Eve Club novella series author Jackie Allen (left) & friend Happy Attendees & New Friends
And the RITAs and the after-party:
Our authors & Editors at the RITA Awards Soon-to-be-released The Auction author Lyn Austin (left) with Contributing Editor, Jill Limber
We didn’t let a moment go by that we weren’t connecting with friends and meeting authors that have joined the Boroughs ranks.
Thank you to RWA for a fabulous conference!
A short monthly piece to show what's happening in the editor-in-chief's brain...and in his office. Besides reading. Lots of reading.
Life Meets Art
There’s a television show called Slings & Arrows that I find immensely enjoyable. I discovered it earlier this year; it’s a Canadian sitcom or dramedy that began in 2003 and ran for three non-contiguous seasons about a Shakespeare festival based loosely on the one in Stratford, Ontario. The show has a number of strengths, including that it presents people dealing with the artistic process, particularly the process as it relates to acting and directing, but it also has a bit about writing. In the show, at one point a character begins a relationship with a playwright. The playwright lifts a great deal of personal data from her and is finally asked, “What are you saying, that a writer just copies conversations that he has in life and makes actors repeat them?”
The answer is basically yes.
Well, sort of. My career has obviously brought me into contact with numerous writers, as has my life in general; a lot of my friends and friends of my friends are writers. It’s amazing how much biographical material goes into the work of successful authors, how much their lives are on display to people who are paying attention.
And yet, it’s not amazing. Our experiences and feelings are a natural starting point. And I say, don’t fight it. Real experiences are more easily reproducible, more likely to be recognizable than emotional journeys pulled entirely out of thin air—though truly masterful writers can change contexts easily. But the good news is, everyone can use their feelings as a starting point.
Of course, I’m not saying that writing a believable character journey is quite that easy. Good writing is about conflict, and so to be truly able to write something you experienced, you have to be able to understand both sides of whatever conflict you experienced and present it fairly—or at least relatively fairly. No reader likes to be preached at; they want to make conclusions on their own. And you have to be careful about including the personal information of people close to you, so you should be incredibly cognizant of protecting their feelings, or at least be aware of the dangers of exploiting their part in your life.
Another danger: Almost every romance writer I know has been asked the awkward question, “So, are you writing about the sex you’ve had?” Usually it’s posed by someone outside of the industry, though I’m sure one or two veterans have asked (or thought of asking) it themselves. The truth is, probably many writers do write about the sex they’ve had. Or at least they use their experiences to flavor what they’re writing about. Personal experience is always a great place to start—and then you add a healthy dose of imagination. And since you’re going to get asked the question about sex whether or not you’re using your experiences, don’t bother skimping. If it makes you uncomfortable, just deny it later.
So, if you’re looking to write a powerful story, look inside. Look at the relationships you’ve had, the ones that failed and the ones that succeed. Look at the relationships of your friends, and see what’s working and what’s not. (Though you should probably be really good at changing context if you want to keep the friends.) This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people want to steer clear of their own baggage. But the truth is, that baggage is what makes you you, and when you open the closet, that’s when you’re going to find that your skeletons can be allies. We’ve all got them. Why not let them out to find their friends?
Every year at the RITA Awards, several winners tearfully thank their husbands for being the light of their life, the rock through their hard times, the brightest star in their firmament. I tend to believe that they’re taking some of that positive relationship energy and experience and channeling it into their writing. But I’m not going to ask them about the sex.
Where you get to hear the people who make publishing–and Boroughs especially–what it is.
Two years ago, I was standing in my kitchen pouring tea for my best friend Judy, excitedly telling her that I’d just discovered the world of historical romance, when she broke in to ask, “Why don’t you write one?”
I paused only briefly before blurting, “Me?”
Ten minutes later I was thinking aloud about a story based in London and Paris with spies during a time of unstable politics and a headstrong young woman who thinks she can live life her way, pursuing adventure no matter the danger she might encounter.
My heroine, Mary Campbell, is drawn from my own life; her misadventures cloak my own stories. Racing with the Wind is not just the way Mary rides her black stallion, it’s the way she lives her life. Not coincidentally, it’s the way I’ve lived mine. When I was a very young girl living in a boarding school, I led surreptitious tours through the headmistress’s quarters. I climbed trees with the boys and dressed like them, too. The world of books and ideas, like with Mary Campbell, came to me very young and gave me dreams of faraway places—all of which I eventually traveled to. And the uncle that Mary Campbell so admired and learned so much from? He was my Uncle Sam (as in the U.S. government).
I think my heroines will always be independent, intelligent—and sometimes rebellious—women; and my heroes will always be noble and strong. It takes a man like Hugh Redgrave, the Marquess of Ormond, to handle a Mary Campbell. And for all my readers who see themselves in the character of Mary Campbell, in this novel you will find the man of your dreams. I did.