…especially when the book you wrote is no longer top of mind, such as my Guide to Memoir Writing, released last year (Dec 2011). Doubly so when it’s a positive review that you’d somehow missed (Google trackers are not a sure thing I find.) So imagine my delight to find these three 5 star Amazon reviews on the book’s site after not checking it for several months.
[Since I went back to full time work as a Blog and Social Media Editor at PLOS, the Public Library of Science (blogs.plos.org) I haven't had time for much of anything other than eating, sleeping and working -- though I have to say that editing, recruiting bloggers and managing a blog community is tremendously fun and challenging work.]
I thank the Amazon reviewers for taking the time and care to write down their thoughts and experiences working with the book. I’m also thrilled that I was able to help them write better memoirs!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Guide for Everyone, Regardless of Experience, September 26, 2012
When I recently began thinking about writing my own life story, I thought certainly it would be a relatively straight forward project. Why not? I had all the credentials and experience to accomplish my mission. I had a solid liberal arts and journalism school education from a good public university and more than 25 years of experience working in the journalism profession during which I have published hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles covering a wide range of subjects.
But as I discovered from Victoria Costello’s guide, writing a memoir is a different – and much more complex – process than writing news stories and magazine features. In a news or feature article, you tend to answer the questions: What is this and what about it? When writing a memoir, the writer goes a step further and answers a third question: So what? To answer this third question, and make your writing come alive, Costello explains that a memoirist has to incorporate a host of literary techniques into the narrative, such as voice, plot, character development, dialogue, scenes, and much more.
Costello does an admirable job of explaining these terms and how to incorporate them into your memoir. Her book has helped me make the transition from the short news story to book-length narrative through this very easy-to-follow guide that makes you think about both the big picture and the details. The book not only covers the writing process, but also delves into legal issues and how to get your memoir published. I recommend this book for anyone who is thinking about, or is in the process of, telling his or her own life story through a memoir or similar writing vehicle, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or veteran journalist.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide to Memoir Writing, September 14, 2012
This book was extremely helpful in guiding me to the completion of my first memoir genre book. The author’s seasoned, realistic approach to writing a memoir is second to none. Highly recommend it!
5.0 out of 5 stars a fabulous technical manual, August 5, 2012
Costello’s guide to writing a memoir is an extremely well crafted, specific, nuts-and-bolts description of the elements required not only for a memoir but for most kinds of novels as well. It provides practical advice on how to approach such a project, and how to get through it, and how to have it reviewed in manuscript form by one’s peers. And, beyond that, how to get it into print. Most such guides tend to be vague about important steps in the process. This one is comprehensively detailed. Even if you don’t plan to write a memoir, you’ll find it fascinating if you like to write.
If you’d like a guide to help you get started on your memoir, or help you pick up on the writing craft part of the process, I hope you’ll give my book a try. I really enjoyed writing it!