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#186849 - 07/20/09 03:30 PM Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Author Sue William Silverman BWS Forum Guest in August!
Ask Sue questions beginning August 1, 2009

A Conversation about Writing and Publishing with Sue William Silverman

http://www.suewilliamsilverman.com/

Ladies, we should feel honored to have Sue with us for the Month of August. I've read three of her four books and had a hard time putting down every single one of them. She captures your attention on the first pages of her books.


HERE IS A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM SUE

I was born in Washington, D. C., where my father was a high government official in the Truman administration. Later, we moved to the West Indies where he was president of a bank. He was also a child molester. The juxtaposition of this double life—seemingly perfect in public, dark and scary in private—is what I write about in my memoir, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You. In my second memoir, Love Sick: One Woman's Journey Through Sexual Addiction, I show how I replicated this double life as an adult. In public, all seemed fine—I attended Boston University, worked on Capitol Hill, was married. But this image was a mask that hid my secret world of sexual encounters with dangerous men, a shadowy life of obsession.

From about 1980 to 1992, I tried to tell my story as fiction. Looking back, I realize that the five or six (unpublished) novels I wrote during this time lacked an authentic voice. It was my therapist, ironically, who finally suggested I write my own story. At first I resisted. I had never considered nonfiction and thought I had nothing to say about myself. Finally, just to humor him (I told myself), I acquiesced, even though I believed I'd only be able to write a paragraph at the most. Maybe a page. The moment I began to write "Terror, Father," however, I felt as if I'd just learned to speak, that I heard my real voice for the first time. I completed the manuscript in three months. And even though it took much longer to write Love Sick, I was finally writing what I knew. One thing I most love about writing memoirs, is that they provide me the opportunity to meet many courageous women. In fact, the responses that mean the most to me come in whispered phone calls and handwritten notes from my readers who thank me for telling their stories, too.

Now, Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir, I share my experiences learning how to write, with the hope it'll help and encourage you to tell your story, too.

For more information about the book, click on the title on the right-hand column.

----------------------------

Do you like to journal, or are you interested in writing your story? If so, please join Sue William Silverman in our forum community during the month of August where she will meet us on a regular basis to answer all our questions about writing.

Her most recent book Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir, has led me to believe she is the queen of memoir wiring. Her expansive knowledge on the subject will jazz you to write your story with guidance, confidence and know-how. Sue is also the author of two memoirs. Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award Series in Creative Nonfiction. Her memoir, Love Sick: One Woman's Journey Through Sexual Addiction, was made into a Lifetime TV Original Movie. Her poetry collection is Hieroglyphics in Neon.

As a professional speaker and writer, Sue has appeared on programs such as The View, Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN; a John Stossel Special on ABC-TV; CNN-Headline News; the Montel Williams Show; the Ricki Lake Show; the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet; and both the U. S. and Canadian Discovery Channels. She was also featured in an episode of "The Secret Lives of Women" on WE-TV.

Sue teaches in the low-residency MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Be sure to stop by and join the conversation.
_________________________
Founder of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.





Edited by Dotsie (07/20/09 04:33 PM)
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


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#186862 - 07/20/09 08:26 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Dotsie]
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
I have a question for Sue and since no one has asked one, I hope you don't mind me being a "me-firster" here?

I would like to know HOW you get started if you wanted to write your memoir? What steps in particular would you take to begin? Is there a procedure?

And lastly, should I have waited until August? LOL!

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#186869 - 07/20/09 09:21 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: jawjaw]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Yes, august 1st is the start date. I just wanted to post this as a tease and a reminder. Gotcha.
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


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#187543 - 08/01/09 02:19 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Dotsie]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Hi, JawJaw, so, I see you got an early start! Sorry you've been waiting around for an answer. Anyway, that's a good question: How to get started!

First, I'd suggest, you discover the story you MOST want to tell. A memoir isn't writing about a whole life; it's writing about a slice of a life. So which thread of your life do you most want to explore? For example, in my first memoir, I followed the theme of what it was like growing up in my incestuous family.

In my second memoir, I followed the theme of recovering from sexual addiction.

A memoir can be about any aspect of one's life: what was it like growing up on a farm in Kansas? What was it like growing up in a military family that moved every few years? What was it like to suffer from a serious illness? What was your journey through a divorce?

If you're not sure which aspect of your life holds the most interest for you, then try freewriting about several aspects and see where your energy leads you.

In short, though, every memoir, for the most part, follows a thread or theme. That way, you won't be taking on too much information--more than can comfortably be contained in one book.

Does this make sense?

In other words, which aspect of your life is the one that feels as if you must write it NOW!
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187554 - 08/01/09 06:52 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Princess Lenora Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 3503
Loc: Colorado
Hi Sue, I've been catching up on other things around the house, so I can make time for BWS and you for August. I am so glad you are the featured author! In response to JJ's question, what do you think about the evolution of a memoir? I started to write about being an addict, and then recovery from, and I ended up writing about the reasons behind the addiction(s). And the book came out a book about recovery from incest, after it (the story) took on a life of its own. Do you use an outline? Or do follow an inner guide and allow room for evolution? Thanks, Lynn

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#187556 - 08/01/09 07:57 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Princess Lenora]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Hi, thanks so much, Lynn. It's great to hear from you, and that's another excellent question! I think that's relatively common, that when we THINK we know what we want to write about, the book (or essay) ends up being about something else. I never use an outline or map things out ahead of time. What works best for me is to follow the book's energy.

To me, writing is like following a whisper...listening very carefully to see what IT wants to be about. Almost always, we, the writers, find our way.

Of course, some writers DO plan an outline! And this works well for them. So, really, do whatever works best for you. There's no right way or wrong way. It's just the way writing feels most natural to you.
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187563 - 08/01/09 09:34 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Princess Lenora Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 3503
Loc: Colorado
I read every bit of Fearless Confessions. I have so many highlights and flags! I like the essays. I like this line from Lisa Chavez: "my mother's fear which passed to me like a virus." So few words can say so much. The use of the essays shows variety in style, as well as subject matter. You did a lot of work for FC!
I like the "follow the whisper" and the "book's energy." Thank you.

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#187569 - 08/01/09 10:47 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Princess Lenora]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Thank you! This is wonderful support and means so much to me. I'm pleased you like the example essays, too. I wanted to have a good mix in there in terms of theme and voice.
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187602 - 08/02/09 08:44 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Wisdom&Life Offline
Member

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 724
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
Hello Sue and welcome, thank you for being the Featured Author. I am excited you are here.

I just now heard about you, but I feel this bond with you already. I don't know what it is and how to explain it, but I get a feeling of warmth with you.

I have Fearless Confessions on hold for me at our Barnes & Noble and I will be picking it up on my way to work tomorrow. I can't wait to read it.

May I add how cool it is to be reading it at the same time I am able to get to know you?

Looking forward to more discussions and discoveries.

Blessings and Cheers,
Cathi
_________________________
Proud member of National Association Of Baby Boomer Women!
www.nabbw.com

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#187606 - 08/02/09 10:49 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Wisdom&Life]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Dear Cathi,
I am so touched by your message! What you say really means a lot to me. I am delighted to be here with you and the other Boomer women--getting to know all of you better.

Thank you so very much for buying "Fearless Confessions," and, over the course of the month, of course I'll be here if you have any questions.

So thank you, again, for your very warm welcome!! I, too, look forward to more discussions!
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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