Posted in memoir

Defining Fictionalized Memoir

So in one corner, there’s fiction. Made up, though just as often as not, inspired by some real stuff. In the other corner, memoir. The Truth, capital T, unless specifically noted, liked “names changed to protect my ass.” But somewhere in the middle, there’s this weird subgenre called fictionalized memoir. What is it, and when do you use it?

Anita from Word Cafe says that a fictionalized memoir is a semi-autobiographical novel. She tells us that Jack Kerouac’s On The Road is a good example. Melissa of Networlding says, “From a writing perspective, the fictionalized memoir allows a writer to embrace the creative process without a disclaimer because the fiction techniques create a compelling story.” Adair of Writer’s Digest outlines why you might consider fictionalized memoir instead of memoir memoir, like “I am uncomfortable relying on my memory.” While Taylor at Lit Reactor talks about how autobiographical fiction can give the author more freedom while potentially requiring more skill to cull all but the best parts. I feel smarter already! But of course, only you can choose what’s right for you.

Keep on keepin’ on.

PS Heather on Slide Share made a cute lil thing you should check out, too.

Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

Step by Step Writing Class with Jobe: Reflection!

What a fantastic night with a fantastic group of people. Sci-Fi George, Romance Kim, and Poet Karen joined yours truly, Memoir Jobe! The conversation generated was so insightful and helpful, the writing written was so sparked and energetic and inspired! This was the most fun I’ve had in a minute.

I opened with introductions, as I always do, and then started with a super lame prompt because I was nervous and couldn’t find my notes. “I remember” was the awkward jump prompt in, but it went to great places from there. I told a little bit about Intention Inspired (I’ll do a blog post about just this later, but check it out, it’s cool). We discussed our strengths and weaknesses as writers. As always I had to also mention Nanowrimo.

From Writer’s Digest we took “Create a character with personality traits of someone you love, but the physical characteristics of someone you don’t care for” and opened it up to any combination of personality/appearance of person you love/hate.

For future use: I loved the idea from Write to Done of the 7x7x7 exercise. I made sure to mention Writing Exercises from the UK, which has a TON of prompts. And Karen told us about a random generator, Watchout 4 Snakes. I forgot to mention Poets & Writers.

In a similar spirit as The Write Practice, we used random words and phrases I collected from spam emails to generate lists of options.

We started with sprints, just some really short timed writings to get us going:
Computers can beat humans at chess
my collection of photos & posters from   Israel.
Amorphous Distribution Transformer Core

I was so inspired by how open and positive the group was I felt we had to do writing exercises based on each person’s favorite genre! I daresay there were some unexpected and impressive results!

SCI FI prompts
prestressed spiral rib
for the widening of
is intended for
feel a little uneasy about
Here please find
for railway sleeper , electric

ROMANCE prompts
at war, with
More than 15 years
Family Promise
you know that we’ve saved you
View an example of a Premium listing
ice cream machine.

POETRY prompts
Afternoon of Magic
we have two types
reaching the people with
dots mosaic bathroom
The payment after satisfaction
pumps and parts

I ended with some creative non-fiction (my genre) prompts, which are less common online than you might think. My favorite is David RM, who has a number of different kinds of non-fic/prose prompts. We started with a light subject, “Opinion Prompt – Do convenience items better our daily lives or shortchange our life experience?” Then we continued to a heavy subject, “Opinion Prompt – Do you think that people have the right to decide when to end their life?” I mentioned And Then I Came Back, which I can’t wait to read after hearing Estelle Laura speak at LitFest.

We end on a personal and emotional prompt, and I was was so impressed by everyone there being so authentic:

“Write about an event or time that you made a deliberate change for yourself. Write about what motivated you to make the change, and how you think that change has affected your life.”

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I was so blessed by these passionate, open-spirited writers. ❤


Posted in Random Round Up

Random Round Up w Jobe

Did you guys know that BookTube is a thing? Like YouTube but with book reviewers! Here’s a quiz to match you with BookTubers, from EpicReads.

If you’re writing a novel, here’s what not to do! From James Scott Bell at Writer’s Digest.

We probably already know this, but FlavorWire wanted to share with the world that bookshelves make the best walls. Shared by Penguin Random House.

Is there anything more darling than an library-themed party? Thanks Jesse Doogan of Book Riot for so many great ideas, especially these literary party games from Picador!

Hope you enjoyed this Random Round Up! The featured image was found searching “random” on Google. Cheers!


Posted in Revision

Jobe Reflects on Novel Revision

Well I turned in a major novel revision yesterday, folks, and MAN OH MAN was it some hard work. This draft crossed the finish line with only 46k words, 186 pgs, seven chapters of about 25-30pgs ea. I cut roughly 9k words of scenes that didn’t work–and that was just the balance after adding in new material, too. Is it ready to be published? No. Is it a heck of a lot better than it was before this revision? You betcha.

For grins I decided to plug my novel in to the hemingway editor app. It tells me that my readability is at a 4th grade level. That means it’s easy to read, which is fine by me since I intended it for YA readers. It says the read time is 3 hours (I wonder how they calculate something like that?) and that I used too many adverbs for their taste, but I was way under their max for passive voice.

What else can I say? Novel revision is really hard work that is really worth it. Here’s some advice from the world wide web:

Solicit feedback. This initial step isn’t really part of the revision process itself, but you need to do it before you’re ready to revise…seek feedback from others…Let the book rest before you try to revise it, so that you can come to it with fresh eyes.” — Anne Lyle

Read. (Try Darcy Pattison’s method of shrinking your manuscript!)

“Analyze. After the first read-through, begin to make notes. Answer the following questions. Does my story make sense? Is the plot compelling? Does the story flow or does it seem choppy? Do my lead characters “jump off the page”? Are the stakes high enough?” — James Scott Bell

Focus on big-picture items, such as plot structure, point of view, and pacing, first.” — Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas, The Book Designer

Outline the book you wrote. The goal is to see what’s there in terms of story beats, character arcs, plot moments. Outline the book you’re gonna rewrite. Have a plan. — Chuck Wendig


Set a completion date for the revision. You need to keep yourself going with deadlines.” — Holly Lisle

When You’re Done, You’re Not Done. Once you have finished your revision, go back and re-read the opening paragraphs (or the whole first chapter) to be extra sure that the feeling and atmosphere you wanted to produce in the opening is still on target…Open strong, end strong.” — James Duncan, Writer’s Digest

Now? REST.


Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

Jobe’s How-To Tips for Novel Writing

Last year I compiled a long list of how to successfully participate in Nanowrimo, and you can read that excellent stuff here. But this year my writers were interested, “How exactly does one write a novel?” Presumably you just sit down and write until you’ve got a book length manuscript, then sit down and revise until you’ve got a polished manuscript. Because that explains it…Ahem. So without further ado, some pointers.

Victory Crayne, and many many other good sources, tells us to, “Start with a character and a problem.” Books are about people who grow and change and do things. Give your main character a problem and you get into the exploration of who they are and what they’re going to do to fix, overcome, avoid, or solve said problem.

Chuck Sambuchino (a great guy who I had the great pleasure of meeting!) tells us in this Writer’s Digest article to “make things happen.” Put plot in every scene!

Jessica Strawser, in this Writer’s Digest article, made the interesting suggestion, “Write what you feel.” We’re humans exploring the human condition, and books are unavoidably about the interactions between people. What makes those interactions interesting? Feelings! Life doesn’t just logically unfold in an endless series of zeroes and ones. Emotions are what color our worlds.

And don’t for get that even famous writers have doubts and worries. Just do it!

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Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

Jobe’s Long-Awaited (Deepest Apologies for the Delay) Second Memoir Workshop Post

Before the fall semester started, before the house hunting, before the summer vacation, there was a dedicated band of folks awaiting with bated breath the posting of the memoir info from our last workshop class. There’s an adage about trying harder and failing better, so I will take that, in this case, to be synonymous with that other adage, about better being late than never. Apologies and deepest love.


















Extra sources I pulled from during class included M. Shannon Hernandez on HuffPo and Creative Writing Now. The book I taught from and read aloud in class from was On Writing Well by William Zinsser.


Thank you for your supreme patience. See you back for more pep talks and the exhilarating experience that is Nano.