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#187740 - 08/05/09 03:57 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Wisdom&Life]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Dear Cathi,
Oh, I love all your comments and questions! I'm so moved that, when reading chapter 4, you came to a profound epiphany. Even though I deliberately use that phrase as a cliche, still, most of us DO, at some point, reach a "dark and stormy night" moment. When I had mine, I, too, finally fully understood what "one day at a time" meant. Actually, there were times when I was down to "one minute at a time." That's all I could do. So what you say really resonates with me.

In terms of the title "Fearless Confessions," I chose it because my hope is that we all WILL learn how to write fearlessly about our confessions. In other words, it can be so tough to write our stories, to tell our secrets--yet, at the same time--it's so important to do so.

Also, when you get to chapter 9, the title will also be clearer. Here's why: there are some critics who "malign" memoirs, especially those by women, and use the term "confessional" as a put down. So what I want to do is reclaim the word and say that there's nothing wrong with us telling our stories! In fact, just the opposite: it is a noble and worthwhile thing to do.

And thank you: I really wanted my book to be clear for all writers, regardless of where you are in your writing journey. So I'm delighted you're finding this to be the case.

In terms of finding the time to write: sure, sometimes it can just be tough...simply too much going on. But, with me, I had reached the place where I simply can handle everything else much better if I am writing...so it's the writing that helps me through.

I hope all this makes sense. Please let me know if any clarification is needed! Oh, and I LOVE the image of sticky notes all over my book!! That's a lovely thought. Thank you!
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187808 - 08/06/09 06:06 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
I thought this was brilliant:

"Write as if you're looking not into a mirror, but out of a window."

Very different concept.

Sue, I also want to comment on how much I appreciated all your writing samples. This is soemthing Stephen King did at the end of his book when he wrtoe about editing. Seeing what authors go through to get to the final edit is eye-opening. I think many people don't realize all the re-writing/editing that is done.
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


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#187811 - 08/06/09 06:41 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Dotsie]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
Thanks, Dotsie! Yes, I think there's the misconception (certainly among critics) that memoir IS navel gazing. Just staring into a mirror. So in "Fearless Confessions," I try to make the case that what memoirists are doing is much more than that.

To me, therefore, the best memoirs are those whereby the "self" is superimposed on the world, so to speak. In other words, our stories don't occur in a vacuum. If you're writing, say, about domestic violence, then, as you're telling your important story, you're ALSO telling the story of a social problem...one that affects us all, not just those, specifically, in a domestic violence situation. Think of how the life of one battered woman, say, plays out among a larger family, a larger community, the government, etc.

This is the REAL story one memoir on domestic violence also tells.

Or, given the news these days and all these politicians caught having affairs: do they suffer from sexual addiction? Surely some of them do, risking everything as it were (job, family, position, respect) "just" for sex. I mean, we have governors resigning, governors lying to their constituents, etc.

So I think that memoirs, therefore, about sexual addiction, DO cast a light on a larger problem. That's kind of what I mean--if that makes sense?

In short, our personal stories are larger than ourselves.
I'm curious how others see this?
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187813 - 08/06/09 06:48 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 am thinking about reading this thread every day! Today I am taking my copy of FC to a friend. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can read all the posts and chime in. I know I am missing all of Sue's insights!

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#187834 - 08/07/09 01:45 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Princess Lenora]
Wisdom&Life Offline
Member

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 724
Loc: Chesapeake, VA
I get it Sue. I believe there are so many perspectives, or a various amount of issues can be dealt with from one story alone.

For example, Eagleheart's Memoir "Eagle Born to Fly: Finding Life Beyond Depression", I was able to see how my words might have affected my daughter when she was growing up, or the timing of my words. The intention wasn't bad on my part, but the perspective on her end was completely different. This is just one of many situations her book alone may have been helpful to many other circumstances and other people.

Here's another one, with the media spinning things, we never do have the entire story, the bigger picture.

One that comes to mind is Mary Kay Laterneau's affair with her student. After I understood what lead her to that point, I ended up having empathy for her, not disdain at all.

So much has unlocked in my mind while reading your book Sue, and I am only on Chapter 6! Heck, I haven't even worked on the exercises yet!

Here are a few, but not limited too, I came up with:

Marketing Material
Offical letters to, your financial institution, your local, state, or federal representative
How to articles and more...

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

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#187839 - 08/07/09 02:18 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Wisdom&Life]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
HI, Lenora, good to hear from you! And I hope you do chime in more later! Thanks!!

Cathi: yes, exactly, all these different perspectives are important. And, yes, we learn so much about our own lives from reading about the lives of others. That's why telling our stories is incredibly powerful. If you write your stories you'll both feel empowered yourself while, at the same time, empowering others. I really think that's how it works.

Again, I'm so moved by your reaction to my book! And, still, you're moving right along being on chapter 6! Thank you.
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187844 - 08/07/09 02:58 AM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
So, okay, looking at both sides of this thing for a minute. Yes, there is the empowerment part--which is great. (What I posted above.) But of course there are those who don't want to hear our words...which we must be prepared for, too.

For example, I recently gave a reading, and a woman in the third row began to mutter to herself. Then, she started mumbling to the person beside her. I kept trying to read--unsure what else to do?! Finally, she got up and walked out, which was a relief. But it was so weird. I mean, I suppose my work scared her. But that was really rude, wasn't it?

It's not as if these negative reactions outweigh the good--not at all. But there they are, anyway!

I mean, if she were truly disturbed, then of course she should have left. And if she'd just walked out from the get-go, that would have been fine, too. I guess it was the muttering that bothered me!!
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187888 - 08/07/09 03:15 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Sue W. Silverman]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Sue, you are wise to mention others not appreciating your work. It's always a possibility.

Perhaps your words jolted her into remembering something from her past and she had to remove herself?

I don't know if this is proprietary informaiton so please do not answer if so, but I've always wondered how many books an author sells. When you go with a traditional publishing house, how many books are you expected to sell, or how many are in the first printing?
_________________________
Founder Emeritus of Boomer Women Speak and the National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
www.nabbw.com
www.boomerwomenspeak.com


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#187895 - 08/07/09 04:38 PM Re: Welcome Sue Silverman: Memoir Writing Expert [Re: Dotsie]
Sue W. Silverman Offline


Registered: 05/15/09
Posts: 33
HI, yes, exactly! I tend to think that she wasn't being rude, per se...probably what I was reading touched a raw nerve in her and she didn't know how to handle it well. Oh, what can you do?! Anyway, yes, I agree with you.

The range of books is really all over the place but, yes, with a NY publisher you have to sell a lot more than if your book is published with a university or small press. Let's say with a midlist book, in terms of NY publishing, probably a range would be 15,000 - 30,000, along those lines? And that's just a midlist book.

A large press run for a university or small press is probably about 4000 books...but more likely is that a first printing would be closer to 2000 - 3000. (And poetry books much less!) But if the book does well, then they'd quickly do a new print run. My first memoir, with the University of Georgia Press, was (last I heard which was a few years ago) in its 8th or 9th print run, I think. I can't remember, but it would be more than that now.

And with "Love Sick," the book published with Norton, it went into paperback in conjunction with the Lifetime movie. So that was very nice.

But these numbers really can be all over the place. And, with the implosion of the economy, publishers are tightening their belts, too. From my perspective, the BIG problem with NY publishing, is that they are giving way too large advances to celebrity books and/or a few select books but then, if those don't pan out, the other writers suffer. It's a tough business...but what are you going to do if you're a writer?!
_________________________
author, "Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir"
www.suewilliamsilverman.com

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#187969 - 08/09/09 02:06 AM 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 had writer's block based on what others may say about my story. What would my mother say? After 2 decades of having the story without owning the story, I decided that I had protected my family's pride long enough. Was I going to continue to protect those who had battered me? Or would I expose my secrets for the sake of a greater good? That was my epiphany! Bearing witness, first-hand, of the social problems of family violence, domestic violence, incest and child abuse, by giving my voice to a million silent others, became more meaningful to me than protecting a small dysfunctional family. The irony? Those that I was protecting by keeping their secrets grew more dysfunctional, turning on themselves, as I grew into hope and healing.

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