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Category Archives: autobiography

Guest post: Flash Memoir: Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing by Jane Hertenstein

Today’s guest blog post, on the topic of the delightful short short, is brought to you by Jane Hertenstein.

Flash Memoir: Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing

My writing was languishing. After a number of brilliant early successes, I suddenly found myself remaindered. Hot dogs seemed to have a longer shelf life than the novel I had just slaved over for five years. I couldn’t face another long slog. Let alone the money—the deal I got was negligible. Smaller than the poo I scooped up on the sidewalk after the dog.

Back to the beginning.

I’d sit in front of the keyboard and daydream, or play Solitaire, my latest obsession. I needed some positive reinforcement and fast. But what did I know outside of my own existence. With that, I hit upon the idea of memoir, or at least using autobiographical details to enhance my fiction. I was also at the same time experimenting with flash.

I quickly typed up a flash inspired simply by a friend who likes to keep her cell phone handy, as in tucked inside her bra. My brain flashed back to my grandmother. Thus, I wrote “Granny’s Pockets.” After lunch I came back and edited it down to 100 words and submitted it to Friday Flash Fiction, (http://www.fridayflashfiction.com/100-word-stories/grannys-pockets-by-jane-hertenstein) where it was accepted and posted by the end of the afternoon.

Well, that was instant gratification!

At my blog Memoirous (http://memoirouswrite.blogspot.com), which I use as a platform to publicize my I started a column called Hot Flash, hoping to spark memories with my readers/writers. After compiling the best of these, I am launching an eBook, Flash Memoir: Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing (available shamelessly EVERYWHERE!).

Sometimes all it takes is a nudge to get the engine of memory to turn over. Once started memories, whether invited or not, continue to roll over us. What one needs to do is create a habit of acting upon these flashes by quickly jotting them down before they disappear. Using a process I call Write Right Now, I encourage readers to do just this: build a portfolio of small flash memories that will eventually be expanded upon or become the foundation for a scene. Memories are the building blocks to most everything we write.

For some of us sitting down to transcribe or pen a memoir can be an overwhelming task. I recommend approaching it in bite-size pieces or rather applying flash. By freeze framing a moment, a memory, like a camera snapshot, and dwelling there you are creating the foundation for longer memoir, a jumping off place to expand upon later. (see my other eBook, Freeze Frame: How to Write Flash Memoir)

The nice thing about flash is that it can be unresolved. There often isn’t enough space/word count to fully explore the memory. And, like so many of our memories, there is an undercurrent of lose threads, fuzzy blurred beginnings and endings with little or no significance. They simply are.

So set yourself the task to sit down and set down these memories. Perhaps, begin with a prompts from my book, Flash Memoir: Writing Prompts to Get You Flashing.

Taste is a huge trigger—recall Proust in In Search of Lost Time or also known as Remembrance of Things Past where he writes about involuntary memory instigated by a simple cookie. Dunking a tea biscuit can easily lead one on a journey into the past. Some call this nostalgia or déjà vu.

Write Right Now: Think about some unforgettable taste that still lingers in your mouth. I once wrote about my mother’s fruitcake, archival and unforgettable, also useful as a door stopper. Write right now.

Thank you, Jane. That was fascinating.

Jane Hertenstein’s current obsession is flash. She is the author of over 40 published stories, a combination of fiction, creative non-fiction, and blurred genre both micro and macro. Her latest book Freeze Frame: How to Write Flash Memoir is available through Amazon. Jane is a 2-time recipient of a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. She can be found blogging about Flash Memoir at http://memoirouswrite.blogspot.com.

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Related articles:

and from this blog, my guests who have written on this topic are… Alberta Ross, Helen M Hunt, Morgen Bailey, Roger Hurn, Sarah Grace Logan, and Warren Bull.

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. Guidelines on guest-blogs. There are other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

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First Sentence Fridays week 5… free book promotion

Hello everyone. In December, I came up with a new idea… hoorah! It’s free promotion for all of you with books for sale (or free); eBooks, paperbacks, it doesn’t matter which. And it can be for an individual short story / poem, story / poetry collection, novel or even non-fiction or script / comic book… any book that is available online, free or otherwise.

It runs every Friday (before the 100-word competition results on the second Friday of the month and 6-word FFFs on the last Friday of the month), and somewhere where you can put the first sentence of your book (no more than 20 words) and one sale link in the comments section. As an example, one of mine would be…

Fifty 5pm Fictions (Vol 2) cover smallThey had a plan: stagger their arrival so it wouldn’t look suspicious. myBook.to/FiftyFictionsVol2
(which leads to the book pictured right)

So put yours in the comments section of this post (below). Don’t put anything else. No title, no comments. Don’t worry if it doesn’t appear straight away. If you’ve not commented on this site before, I will have to approve it. I’ll be as quick as I can. And I’ll be editing ones that are more than one sentence / link.

The whole point of this exercise is to intrigue my visitors. It doesn’t matter which link you put in as long as it goes directly to somewhere where the reader can buy / download your book, i.e. not to your website’s home page where they then have to go looking for how to find out more / buy your book. If you want to contact me then you can certainly email me if you have any questions.

This will be a weekly feature so if you have more than one book, choose a different one each week. So one sentence (even if it’s one word!) / one link per author per post (and please don’t repeat the same book more than once per month). If the Friday’s been and gone, don’t worry… you can still add the details as a comment until the next post goes up the following Friday and becomes the lead post. When it’s gone, you can still find the link on the First Sentence Fridays page. OK, off you go.

READERS: to find the books listed here when viewing this post on the main blog page, click on the ‘Comments’ bottom right of the post. And you can find the previous links on the First Sentence Fridays page.

 

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NEW!!! ‘First Sentence Fridays’ week 4… free advertising for your book!

Hello everyone. Last month, I came up with a new idea… hoorah! It’s free promotion for all of you with books for sale (or free); eBooks, paperbacks, it doesn’t matter which. And it can be for an individual short story / poem, story / poetry collection, novel or even non-fiction or script / comic book… any book that is available online, free or otherwise.

It runs every Friday (before the 100-word competition results on the second Friday of the month) and 6-word FFFs on the last Friday of the month), and somewhere where you can put the first sentence of your book (no more than 20 words) and one sale link in the comments section. As an example, one of mine would be…

Volume 1Condoms. myBook.to/FiftyFictionsVol1
(which leads to the book pictured right)

So put yours in the comments section of this post (below). Don’t put anything else. No title, no comments. Don’t worry if it doesn’t appear straight away. If you’ve not commented on this site before, I will have to approve it. I’ll be as quick as I can. And I’ll be editing ones that are more than one sentence / link.

The whole point of this exercise is to intrigue my visitors. It doesn’t matter which link you put in as long as it goes directly to somewhere where the reader can buy / download your book, i.e. not to your website’s home page where they then have to go looking for how to find out more / buy your book. If you want to contact me then you can certainly email me if you have any questions.

This will be a weekly feature so if you have more than one book, choose a different one each week. So one sentence (even if it’s one word!) / one link per author per post (and please don’t repeat the same book more than once per month). If the Friday’s been and gone, don’t worry… you can still add the details as a comment until the next post goes up the following Friday and becomes the lead post. When it’s gone, you can still find the link on the First Sentence Fridays page. OK, off you go.

READERS: to find the books listed here when viewing this post on the main blog page, click on the ‘Comments’ bottom right of the post. And you can find the previous links on the First Sentence Fridays page.

 

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The Greenacre Writers Finchley Literary Festival starts this Friday

The Finchley Literary Festival starts this Friday! Below are the details…

Nearly all the events are FREE.

Friday kicks off at North Finchley Library, 11-12.30pm with a memoir course which can be paid for online. More details on the Greenacre Writers Blog.

Then there are talks about ‘Anatomy of a Soldier’ from Harry Parker and ‘The Good Mother’ from A.L. Bird at Church End Library, N3 1TR

Friday evening 7pm at Trinity Church Centre, N12 7NN, there is a Sci-Fi book launch with Allen Ashley who will be interviewed by expert Sandra Underman.

Saturday morning opens at Trinity Church Centre, N12 7NN

11am A Trio of excellent writers, Booker nominee – Yvvette Edwards, 2016 Betty Trask shortlist – Irenosen Okojie and 2016 British Fantasy Shortlist – Catriona Ward. They will be sharing their writing and publishing experiences.

11.15am There is Dragon’s Pen which is now fully booked. Good luck to those budding writers who have been brave enough to face the wrath of the fire-breathing she-dragons.

1.30-5.30pm Saturday afternoon sees the exciting announcement of the winners of the festival short story competition by London Short Story winner, Judge Joanna Campbell, who will then talk about her own short story success and latest novel.

This is followed by the very interesting and dramatic Orphans in Fiction with author Antonia Honeywell, and Doctoral Researcher Rosie Canning.

Lindsay Bamfield will be interviewing the extremely knowledgeable author, Sunny Singh, who will talk about all things writing.

Our final Saturday event takes us to India for the adventures of Inspector Chopra and his assistant, the capable baby elephant. Beware of elephants in Finchley! These wonderful characters will be joined by their creator, author Vaseem Khan.

There will be refreshments available at Trinity Church Centre during the festival.

Sunday 11am, we head to Waterstones Finchley, to meet the inspiring Katharine Norbury whose memoir ‘The Fish Ladder’, has been published to critical acclaim. Observer Rising Star 2015,Telegraph Best Book Of The Year 2015, Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2015, and Longlisted for the Wainwright Prize 2016.

Adopted as a baby, life changing events send Katharine on an unforgettable journey from sea to the source of various rivers. Fans of ‘H is for Hawk’ will especially enjoy this event.

This event is followed by a walk with lunch and afternoon tea stops and wonderful Finchley in Fiction literary readings. Meet Waterstones Finchley 12midday.

Sunday evening 6.00pm is the amazing Poetry Palooza at Finchley’s literary cafe, Cafe Buzz. Come and hear some wonderful poetry and music.

Do RSVP and we look forward to meeting you at the festival.

See more here.

All good wishes,
Rosie Canning
FLF Coordinator
Greenacre Writers
Twitter: @GreenacreWriter

 

 

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