Non-fiction & Life Writing

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Non-fiction & Life Writing
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For anyone currently writing - or planning to write - non-fiction, memoir or biography. A space to discuss researching, writing, submitting for publication and whatever else you like!

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Hi Everyone, 

At one of the Jericho events I heard Anna say that In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado is one of her favourite books. I managed to get it as an ebook from the library and have just finished it. As a memoir, it's very unusual, being mostly allusive and not very linear either. It wasn't an easy book - it's about an abusive relationship - but I have always resisted the 'tricksy ' approach to life writing so this was a useful read. 

The following passage, quite near to the start  of Carmen's book, speaks to what we are all trying to achieve and I thought others in the group might like to see it:

'The memoir is, at its core, an act of resurrection. Memoirists recreate the past, reconstruct dialogue. They summon meaning from events that have long been dormant. They braid the clays of memory and essay and fact and perception together, smash them into a ball, roll them flat. They manipulate time; resuscitate the dead. They put themselves, and others, into necessary context.'

My own memoir is the usual beginning, middle and end (of a period lasting only 4 years) and I have worked quite hard to stop the thing turning into a glorified shopping list of  'first I did this and then this happened, followed by that...' ad nauseum. It seems to have paid off, according to feedback from professional readers but we shall see if it gets me anywhere. I don't think I have the mental agility to try Carmen's approach next time, (I have a follow-up in mind), but who knows?

Happy remembering.

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Hello, I've been interested in joining Jericho Writers for a while but haven't yet fully committed. I'm working on a second draft of Memoir and thought this group looked interesting. 

I have a background in Theatre, Blogging and more recently, Vlogging, having just completed Season One of Boxofficegirl. An Audience Booked By... where I take time out to interview authors and creatives.

I'm looking forward to being part of the group and connecting.


Added a post  to  , Non-fiction & Life Writing

Hi,everyone,

I have been absent from this group due to work commitments.So I hope to contribute in the near future.I recently had my memoirs published on Amazon Kindle and paperback.Which took me nearly five years to write and finish. " Thirteen Broken Biscuits" is the tile.If anyone is in the process of writing their memoirs. Please persevere it is well worth seeing your life story published.

Thank you Alan

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Hi All, just joined this group because I'm a keen (unpublished) memoirist. Have entered competitions and done OK, but after agent rejections in the past let it ride for several years. However, after watching all the Jericho webinars I could in the last year - got me through lockdown - and using what I've learnt from them to do better in another comp, as well as learning how to think about this properly from Sophie Hannah's mini-course on confidence (from last year's Summer Festival), I think I have a chance to do better. 

So, as I'm sure I'm among friends here today, I've decided to say that in the next 6 weeks I intend to plunder Agent Match, get my submission pack together and get back on the horse. And if that doesn't work, those classes on self-pub will be put to good use! 

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Hi everyone. This is my first post, so my apologies if I don't quite manage to perfectly adhere to the etiquette of the site. I am hoping that I am now ready to submit to agents. I have written and am editing a semi-autobiographical book which applies key ideas from counselling and psychotherapy to all of life. I have the first three chapters (about 9000 words) in what feels to be decent shape now, but what do I know? I'm so close to it that I can't tell if it's awful, awesome, or anything in between. If anyone feels up to having a look, I would be very grateful!! :)

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Hi there. Just joined this group and wanted to say hello. Not quite sure how it works yet! Am working on a project based on letters written by my father in WWII. He was a Spitfire pilot and the letters are to my mother. I have done a fair amount of research on the historical background and have interspersed the letters with this plus my own  reflections, so now have 90,000 words (there are 200 letters from my father written over 5-6 years). Am sort of stuck as to how to pitch it. It doesn't have enough of the military detail for avaition buffs (all that is in his flying log), and it is more of a courtship by correspondence. For me it tells a story, but is it dramatic enough for a general reader (he isn't shot down/killed or taken prisoner althought there are a few dicey moments!). Is it 'memoir' when it is not about me but about my father? Any ideas etc on how to progress form here gratefully received!

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Hi Could anybody provide me with some feedback on my story? It's set in Liverpool about a flaneur ( drifter me) It will only resonate with any Beatle fans out there. No matter what age. I just want some honest feedback so that I can work on it. Thanks Alan

Mathew 14:03:2021.doc

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Hi everyone

Did any of you register for last night's webinar on writing a memoir, with Nina Aron? I registered 2 months ago and have been eagerly anticipating the event. I got home from work at 7.25pm and quickly went online to double check the start time - confirmed for midnight last night, and despite having to set my alarm for 5am this morning to go back to work, I stayed awake patiently waiting for the webinar to start. At 23:45 hrs I received a..n automated confirmation email from Jericho informing me the session was about to start so I eagerly logged on and waiting.... and waited.... and waited. The pop-up window told me to 'sit tight, as soon as the host logs on, I would be redirected to the session'. Well at 25 past midnight I gave up and went to bed. It appears it was a no-show from the host and I wasn't impressed. Was it just me/my pc, or did anyone one else experience the same?

I phoned Jericho this afternoon and they were completely unaware of any issues. They have told me they'll let me know but I haven't heard anything back yet.

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I'd like some advice on best practice when putting together an non-ficiton submission. I am currently working towards submitting to one particular agent who wants everything in the same PDF - brief biog, first chapter & then a plan of subsequent chapters. So far so good I'm thinking but am wondering if there are any conventions I should observe when submitting (eg font, line-spacing). The non fiction submissions seem very free and easy compared to the fiction and there is also quite a bit of variation between agents. Am I right in thinking it is ok to title a chapter and then give a list of bullet points to cover what's in it? Anyone know if the uptake of non-fiction books is better than fiction? Cheers. Jo.

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Hi all, newbie here. Not quite got sure how to navigate the forums yet but thought I'd say hello. I ghostwrite autobiographies for a living. Currently working on half a dozen different books at various stages – thank goodness for Scrivener! Most are for private publication, 40 or 50 copies for family and friends. Also close to completing an autobiography written with a well-known musician, which will probably be self-published and another couple of interesting projects. Sometimes struggle with the mechanics of it all – formatting for print, ebooks, Google Docs, etc. Looking forward to learning from others and swapping experiences.   

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Has anyone here sent in a freedom of information (FOI) request to a government department as part of their research? Any tips? Did you spell out very precisely what you wanted to access or were you quite broad? Was your request successful? I'm preparing a FOI request for the Foreign Office (or The Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office as I now know it's called - for the era I'm interested in, it was called The Foreign Office!)...