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Writing Memoir

June 19th, 2020

Everybody has at least one good memoir, a personal story that can reflect the experiences of a single day or span 50 years. My own, one of 10 winning memoirs recently selected for publication with the Fish Publishing 2020 Short Memoir Competition, had a narrative arc stretching from my 19 year old self to the (ahem!) 51 year old I am today. An offhand comment by my mother one afternoon prompted me to revisit my relationship with my long-deceased father, a Dublin foundryman, and to examine how his untimely death had unknowingly influenced me over the years. I uncovered a story that had sadness, humour, and ultimately a little redemption for both of us. I also learned that you don’t just write a memoir, you experience it (or rather, re-experience it), and it changes you a little.

My first bit of advice for budding memoirists is to educate yourself on the prose style and degree of personal exposition involved. I began by reading a selection of long- and short-form memoirs by established authors like Anne Lamott, Alan Bennett, Emilie Pine, David Sedaris and Sinéad Gleeson to better appreciate the writing techniques they employed to inject emotion and drama into their personal stories in order to hook their readers. This was hugely informative and taught me that the best memoirists are fundamentally unafraid to broach their own shortcomings and are frequently prepared to reveal those blush-inducing, and for some, often painful personal anecdotes from their past. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Homemade Tart

June 16th, 2017

The Writers Bureau memoirs course helped me produce the draft for my first book, The Storm Within the Rose: My Family and Alzheimer’s. My next task was to turn this mass of words into a book people would want to read. With no publishing experience whatsoever I decided to self-publish completing each step of the process myself. It seemed slightly less crazy than trying to convince a publisher or agent that I, an unestablished author, had written a book that would sell.

So l started to create my book which I affectionately nicknamed my homemade tart. The filling was to be a mixture of sadness, humour, nostalgia, information and pictures, poured into a casing of chapters, headings, indented paragraphs, page numbers and front section before topping with an eye-catching book cover. Read the rest of this entry »




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My Life in Letters

October 8th, 2014

Diary-blogDo you keep a diary? I used to. When I was in my twenties I thought it was the sort of thing a writer should do, so I made sure I always had an A5 hardback notebook to hand. This was my journal and in it, every day (sometimes two or three times a day) I recorded my activities, my observations and my innermost feelings. At some point, I thought, I’ll turn all this into a play, or a novel or a whole stack of poems. Read the rest of this entry »




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If you want to be a writer…read!

July 11th, 2014

First, thanks to Esther for last Friday’s post – and the great advice about ‘up-cycling’ (not sure if I like that word) your writing.  Don’t just delete stuff. You might not be able to use it in its current form but you could cannibalise it for a plot, a title or a theme.

But, as our annual short story comes to an end and we send the entries off to the adjudicator, could I make a plea for people not to enter the same story year after year.  I recognised quite a few from last year; and if they didn’t win then, they’re highly unlikely to win this year.  Send them off to a different competition or re-cycle them, otherwise you’re just wasting your money. Read the rest of this entry »




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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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