Ready, Set, Memoir!: The Essential Guide to Telling Your Story

Lindsey Grant. Chronicle, $16.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-79720-800-8
Grant (Sleeps with Dogs), former director of the National Novel Writing Month workshop, delivers an easy-to-use guide to writing about one’s own life. She covers such essentials as planning, staying focused, revision, and different approaches to chronology (including flashback, foreshadowing, and flash-forward). Grant leaves copious page-space for readers to brainstorm, and offers plenty of advice to get going (she recommends listening to “epic” music such as the Gladiator soundtrack and having snacks and beverages on hand). Especially helpful is the “Help Desk” to guide newbies through creative setbacks, with its ideas for freeing up time in the day and identifying obstacles. She approaches writing with whimsy—one exercise, for example, asks readers to create a coat of arms depicting their top writing motivators—and wisdom from established memoirists is sprinkled throughout, with quotes from Piper Kerman, Dani Shapiro, and Mira Jacob serving as morale boosters. Occasionally, Grant’s tips can come across a bit micromanaged (she gets very specific about Post-its, for instance, down to their dimensions), but her affable approach is straightforward and wastes no space in getting to the brass tacks of writing. Grant’s step-by-step guide and steady encouragement will be welcomed by budding memoirists. Agent: Lindsay Edgecombe, Levine Greenberg Rostan. (May)
Reviewed on : 05/19/2021
Release date: 06/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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