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Educated by Tara Westover

This book alarmed me from the get-go.  Her family did not believe in school or doctors.  Her father was a relgious fanatic.  Her mother excelled in herbal tinctures.  One older brother physically abused her.  If she wore a dress above her knee or showed a shoulder, she was a slut.  It is a riveting memoir about how Tara grows out of this background, which never quite lets go.

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The heart of the memoir, 5 tips

What is the Real Story
in your memoir; fiction or nonfiction
5 Tips for uncovering it
Always start with a short meditation or quiet moment to improve your concentration
1 Write an anecdote from one period of the person’s life. If a memoir, choose yourself.
2 Describe in detail two memories from that time. Include all your senses — touch (fabric), hearing, smell, sight, and taste (food is SO resonant).
3 What was going on for the person at this time? What decisions was he or she facing? What transition? What path did he or she not take?
4 Then pull your thoughts together and write a scene about this time in present or past tense. Select a point of view and establish a tone. Use action verbs. Try to avoid “was” or “there” as they are weak words.
5 Use dialogue between people that has tension or humor in it.
Now you have a section, maybe a chapter, and can go on to the next.
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What is the Real Story in your memoir; fiction or nonfiction

5 TIPS for uncovering it

Always start with a short meditation or quiet moment to improve your concentration
1 Write an anecdote from one period of the person’s life. If a memoir, choose yourself.
2 Describe in detail two memories from that time. Use all your senses — touch (fabric), hearing, smell, sight, and taste (food is SO resonant).
3 What was going on for the person at this time? What decisions was he or she facing? What transitions? What path did he or she not take?
4 Then pull your thoughts together and write a scene about this time in present or past tense. Select a point of view and establish a tone. Use action verbs. Try to avoid “was” or “there” as they are weak words.
5 Use dialogue between people that has tension or humor in it.
By now you have a chapter, maybe a short story, and can go on to the next.

If you want to send me an email about how this approach worked for you, please do. Valerie@valerieharms.com

Or we can have a phone consultation for $40.
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About reading at Country Bookshelf, Oct. 1

Come if you can...Oct. 1 reading at Country Bookshelf, 28 W. Main St., Bozeman.
I will discuss my new book, Your Soul at a Crossroads ~ with steps you can take not to lose it. This book is part memoir and part depth guide to finding the right path in relationships, work, health, and nature. Exercises enable you to find your inner wisdom and personal meaning. The book also contains chapters on dreams, rebirth symbols, & myths. This is Valerie's 10th book. The beautiful Country Bookshelf is Montana's largest independent bookstore, located at 28 W. Main in Bozeman.  Read More 
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Writing tips by Sue Monk Kidd

For writers Sue Monk Kidd has some excellent tips. See www.suemonkkidd.com/reflections.
For anyone who's wanted to write memoir or fiction, she's a great mentor.
I just finished reading Traveling with Pomegranates, a book she wrote with her daughter about travels they took together. They went to my favorite sacred places--in Greece and France.  Read More 
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