Non-fiction & Life Writing

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Non-fiction & Life Writing

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!

I'm of the same generation as Lajazz. My self-published story is from two generations earlier. The next book will tell of the between war years ~ 1920 to 1939 and, assuming I get that far, then the war years. The main reason I self-published was that I wanted to meet the 100-year anniversary date of the events described. I have made a number of mistakes on the way. One was not to plan and initiate my marketing strategy before publishing my book. So now I have to catch up and learn how to market on-line. 

I have read your page and a bit and I find it engaging and would almost certainly read more if it was available. It has a strong element of nostalgia in it for me. However, my generation can't be the main target readership. There are not too many of us left.

Hi all,

Herewith a link to the first very short chapter of my autobiography covering the first 25 years of my life.  It tells of the day-to-day life of an ordinary family in the post war years (so very different in every way from life today) and how a loving family deal with tragedy when it eventually strikes. It covers the topic of assisted dying.  I've written it in the present tense in the voice of the young me growing up so that voice changes as the girl matures.  I've done this as I feel it's more immediate and lets the readers compare for themselves the differences between their lives and that of someone living in the mid twentieth century.

Had it professional critiqued some years ago.  Great praise for every aspect of the work and the comment that they very much wanted to know what happened next, but then the killer! It didn't stand a chance of publication because it wasn't commercial enough.  

I'm wondering if that's still the case so I'd be interested in any comments you'd like to make on style and commercialism.

Many thanks.

Hello Everyone
I'm currently writing my non-fiction narrative concerning my work as a crime and trauma scene clean up technician and business owner. There was one book written several years ago by acquaintances in the biz who hired a horror-fiction writer. The book did poorly, but it very graphically described all the blood and gore. I'm sure it was written as a shock piece.
Mine is much different as I'm striving to show the humanity and personal stories surrounding the events I was called to handle. I do describe the scene but in more generic terms, less graphic but hopefully enough to know what we're walking into. Right now I'm sitting at 22,500 words and planning for 40,000. Since I've decided to take this venture seriously I've added in the neighborhood of 11,000 words since January. My job as a marketing manager and content provider for the company I'm working for takes quite a lot of energy and creative time.
This line is about 6 hours later than I started this morning. As an example of the job stealing my time for writing, the Covid 19 flu has thrown a monkey wrench into my plans this week as we have a couple of cases in the Kansas City area now, so, all the schools and large multinational firms are wanting our (my) attention to either disinfect or to work with their teams to build pre-event agreements. Oh well C'est la vie.

Hello, I'm new to this group. I hope you all are well as I. 

I just posted a LinkedIn Post of an article which is a summary taken from the Non-fiction Narrative I'm working on called Confessions of a Death Scene Cleaner. Feel free to critique. I've been an industry technical writer for decades. I teach a course in the Structural Restoration industry and I used my writing to build a national persona that helped me build my training business. I'll post a chapter perhaps in a few days for your purusal if you're interested. I know i would be interested in the feedback.

Hopefully this link takes you to the first couple of chapters of my memoir Don't Shoot The Angels. I would appreciate any suggestions if anyone wants to look at it for me.


Hello everyone, I'm very new to this group and this is my first post. I've been writing since 1977 for six local newspapers with a weekly Bylineover a three year period, with a religious based article. My writing has always been in the non-fiction, how to, or opinion writing. My claim to fame is I started the industry most in the world now call Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup. Meaning, I would go into traumatic death scenes and remediate the structure from the damage caused by the event and then restore the structure. When I started the company I knew no one was really doing this work as a company, most victims were left to beg, borrow, or steal whomever they could to help them. However, once it became evident as to my position in a burgeoning industry I began to write a newsletter and eventually wrote it's leading textbook and teach and certify technicians across North America. Over the years I've written many articles for industry magazines and the like.

As I've taught and spoke at various events I'm asked to relate a few stories, once I do, I'm always told I should write a book. At the beginning I paid no attention, since novel writing is something I never do, but after suffering from PTSD (you can only see so much human carnage until it affects you) I began to write a cathartic journal. Now many years later (some15years) I have decided to turn my journal into a non-fiction narrative. The name is Confessions of a Death Scene Cleaner.

I'm usually a very confident individual, with now decades of successful business experience but somehow I am the least confident concerning this project. Perhaps it's taking me out of my realm of comfort in descriptions. I have improved on that end but still there's work to be done.

Personally, I was born in 1950 in Independence, Missouri and live here today with my second wife of 32-1/2 years and together we have yours, mine, and ours five children, five grandchildren, all adults, and two great grandchildren, with the third on the way. I think because of our late-life child we have been very blessed with a well blended family. Every year our family centers around our home for holidays and are wonderful. One grandchild is an executive chef who works with Gordon Ramsey so holiday diiners are Five Star, and the summers are filled with several FamJams as they've become known.

Even though I've retired twice I am a marketing director for my oldest and largest competitor since I sold my companies in 2010 when I retired the first time.

Enough for now. I bid you all well wishes and look forward to getting to know new friends and writing-mates around the world.

I am finishing my memoir about going to London in 1972 , smuggling hash and then working on a Pop Festival run by two now famous film producers and a Peer of The Realm. The festival turned out to be a front for laundering Mafia money and failed miserably.

Throughout the narrative I use the F word  quite liberally  to give authenticity to the dialogue. In some cases I  feel it is important to the rhythm of the dialogue but am worried it might lose some readers.

I also use bits of Dylan songs as chapter headings. Is this legal?

Comments please 

Just finished my memoir 'An Innocent Girl' a story about my childhood growing up in Cornwall. Looking for a Literary Agent at the moment. 

Hi everyone, 

I'm a fiction writer (and community manager here at JW) but I have a passion project that's been burning away for years now. It's about an extraordinary woman trailblazer who was a magazine editor before women got to do such things, travelled the world and at one point in the mid-1900s was the best paid woman in Europe. Now she's all but forgotten. I have a contact in her family who has been very generous with his time and has offered me access to the archive of photos. 

The sticking point - besides free time - is that my agent says straight biography is less popular than narrative non-fiction. I'm trying to come up with ways to create a narrative out of her story, either by focusing on a particular time in her life and theming the book around that, or perhaps even by weaving my modern experiences as a (one-time) journalist into the book. 

I wonder if anyone else has used a real life person to create a story like this?