What to know to appear on a writer’s conference panel

The following article was published on December 18 at: I'm so pleased to have another article there. How to Prepare to be on a Panel Discussion By Madeline Sharples I’ve been on many panels at local writer’s conferences. And just having finished appearing on a panel, some of the things I’ve learned have come into focus. Here’s my list: Know your topic cold – make sure you know the topic you plan to speak about very thoroughly. On my recent panel we discussed writing best-selling memoirs, something I know a lot about. My goal was to convince the audience to find a way to write a memoir with a universal theme – that will appeal to readers beyond the author’s family and friends. We also discussed the differences between memoir (a small portion of a person’s life story) and an autobiography (a total life story) and the differences between memoir and fiction. A memoir is nonfiction. Know who your panel mates will be and their backgrounds – usually the faculty is listed wi … [Read more...]

Writing a memoir? Stick to it!

Yesterday I participated as a panel member discussing "How to Develop Your Memoir with Appeal to the Widest Possible Audience" at the Genre-LA Creative Writing Conference. Unfortunately the room was not full, but the four of us on the podium spoke from our experience writing, editing, and marketing memoirs to get an interested and inspired response from those who did attend. I think the most important point we made was in answer to this question: Defining a memoir’s theme or focus can be overwhelming – how can aspiring memoirists choose which events, memories, or moments to include, and which to leave out? My answer to that would be: Don’t write a complete autobiography. Pick a subject that’s timely and universal. For example, my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, is about our son’s mental illness and suicide and how our family survived it. And right now mental illness and suicide are in the forefront. Suicide of young men especially is an epidemic though women are more … [Read more...]

Exciting news

I am so excited that the editors at the Story Circle Network have chosen my memoir as one its November picks. I joined the Story Circle Network last month, and I'm already reaping its benefits. Here is a short description of its mission, which is right up my alley: The Story Circle Network, offering classes, workshops, story circles, reading circles, retreats, and conferences, is an international not-for-profit membership organization made up of women who want to document their lives and explore their personal stories through journaling, memoir, autobiography, personal essays, poetry, drama, and mixed-media. And here is how to get more information: To learn more about who we are, go here. To learn about our many ongoing activities, subscribe to our free email newsletter. For more information, see our FAQ or contact us via email: storycircle at storycircle.org or phone: 512-454-9833 or write to: Story Circle Network, P.O. Box 500127, Austin TX … [Read more...]