July Member Teleseminar
July 22, 2016
11 AM PDT 12 PM MDT 1 PM CDT 2 PM EDT
We’re pleased to introduce you to Karen Lynch as our guest this month. Karen is the author of the memoir Good Cop, Bad Daughter-memoirs of an unlikely police officer. I began reading her book, thinking I’d browse a little, then found I couldn’t put it down. I noticed that she made it a real page turner. Asked her to be our guest for this month to share with us what she learned about writing a great story, and to tell us why she felt it was important to write her memoir.
It’s becoming more and more challenging to keep readers engaged in long form literature. The multiple distractions of everyday life pull us away from the once leisurely experience of sitting down with a good, long book. If we want to keep our readers turning the pages, we must be conscious of their reading experience. In early drafts, getting out our story is the first priority. But as we edit, we think about the story from the reader’s point of view. And as we will discuss, creative writing, and editing use different parts of the brain.
Write the book you would want to read. Is your narrator engaging the reader from the beginning? If the reader loves the narrator or is even just interested in her, we will go along wherever she takes us. If the narrator is dull we put the book down. Your narrator need not be likeable, but she must be interesting. Show us early, maybe in the first five pages, that we are in for an interesting ride. Steve Almond calls this, “Getting the reader in the car.”
The reader wants to know what she will gain from going on this journey with you. Will we gain wisdom? Are you entertaining? Will we just get on for the ride because it’s fun? Is it your lyrical language that draws us in? For some readers, the poetry of the language is enough; for most, we want to know there will be a good story, with interesting characters.
During the interview we will discuss, among other things:
- How to get the reader interested in your book in the first five pages.
- Mini-cliffhangers and how they keep the reader engaged….. ex: The Count of Monte Cristo.
- Writing about people who are still living, who may not like their portrayal in your book.
- What you will gain by writing memoir, regardless of whether you’re published.
Karen Lynch was a Homicide Investigator for San Francisco Police Department, and prior to being promoted, worked as a patrol officer for nine years. After 29 years of police work, and a bout with breast cancer, she retired to become a full time writer. Her memoir, “Good Cop, Bad Daughter-memoirs of an unlikely police officer,” is the story of how being raised by a bi-polar mother, and a tribe of hippies provided Karen the perfect training to become a cop. She is a native San Franciscan, and proud Cal Bear. She has been married to Greg for 26 years, and they have three children. Other publications: Lucky Drive essay in Transitions anthology, NBTT Publications; In the Long Run essay published on Manifestation; Thorazine essay in Shades of Blue anthology, Seal Press Web site: http://www.karenrlynch.com. Readers can follow me on my Facebook page, Good Cop, Bad Daughter.