Plot for Memoir Writers: Martha Alderson
October 16th 11AM PDT
Martha Alderson, M.A.
I invite writers to experience the freedom of structure.
Martha Alderson employs two strategies to help writers develop plot. A memoir generally focuses on a specific time period to bring some sort of thematic significance to the writer’s life that might benefit others. Memoir writers struggle with what parts of their life to put into the memoir and what parts to leave out.
Note: To listen or download the audio for this teleseminar, you must login using your NAMW Password then visit this link: https://www.namw.org/members-area/downloads-resources/teleseminar-audio/
1. What is plot and why is it important?
Plot involves at least three plot threads:
Character Emotional Development (CED) – provides interest – this is who the reader identifies with
Dramatic Action (DA) – provides excitement
Thematic Significance (TS) – provides meaning
Determine your strengths and weaknesses. Take the test: http://www.blockbusterplots.com/resc/plot_test.html
For more on the three plot threads go to: http://www.blockbusterplots.com/resc/plot_intro.html
2. How to constructing a plot plan for the overall memoir
Scene Tracker – shows plot at the scene level.
Plot Planner – shows plot at the overall story level.
Both the ST and the PP allow writers to stand back and “see” their story outside the words.
For more, these two concepts are covered in my book – Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple. For the NAMW discount special: http://www.blockbusterplots.com/ljmmemoirwriters.html
Also, visit the memoir page for an exercise designed to help you determine where to begin and end your memoir. http://www.blockbusterplots.com/resc/type_memoir.html
A Plot for Memoirists eBook is in the works that will have this exercise in more detail along with everything else memoirists need to create a plot and structure for their memoir – you can pre-order now at a special price under the Plot Tools section at the top of the site:
3. The art of writing plot in scene
Scene is conflict shown in “on stage.” Scene: the moment-by-moment unfolding of the action and filled with sensory details. Being in scene allows the reader to viscerally take part in the memoir.
For more information, sign up for the free monthly Plot Tips eZine filled with inspiration, interviews with successful writers, and contests. It covers plot, plot, plot. Sign up: http://www.blockbusterplots.com/contact.html
4. The importance of the main character — You!
The protagonist or main character of a memoir is you. After finishing the first draft, think of yourself as the protagonist rather than yourself. This allows you as the writer to stand back from your life and analyze your writing from the reader’s point of view.
The CED plot thread = your emotional development throughout the memoir.
All great stories are about character transformation.
The character begins the story generally flawed in one way or another, and by the climax of the memoir is able to do something she was unable to do at the beginning. She needs to go through every single scene to learn and grow in order to get to where she needs to be at the end = transformation.
Great example of CED is a new memoir being released by Simon & Schuster Dec. 2 – Daily Coyote: http://www.dailycoyote.net/
Also, my “nearly 90” mother’s memoir blog: http://svensto.blogspot.com/