Friday, February 14, 2014

Memoir Writing Contest Anyone Can Enter


So--how do you think these two met?

Valentine's Day seemed the perfect time to alert you to a new writing contest that Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett recently announced. These two editors of a women's memoir site give tips and news for those women who are interested in writing memoir stories or books. I have found a wealth of information here as it's chock full of interesting and worthwhile tidbits for those who write in this genre. 

Some of you are probably shaking your head and saying But I don't write memoir. Maybe you do and don't realize it. If you write your family stories, you're a memoir writer. Memoirs don't need to be full books to qualify. Many short pieces fit in this category, too. Look at the numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul stories that belong in the memoir area. 

But back to the contest at women's memoir site. The theme is How I Met Your Father and for anyone who does not have a child, it is How Mother Met My Father. Submission deadline is March 31st so you have plenty of time to write, revise and edit your entry. Look on this page for the submission guidelines. You'll find it about a third of the way down the page. Just scroll until you come to the contest announcement. While you're there, check out the rest of the page, too.

I know how I met my children's father. I was there! I know the story of how my parents eloped and kept their marriage a secret for several weeks. When looking at the contest page, it hit me that I do not know how and where my parents actually met. Me! The great family story pusher. My parents were storytellers and family stories rained upon us on a regular basis. I have written about so many of them. Why, I'm wondering now, did I never hear the story of how my parents met in the late 1930's. Why did I never ask? Sadly, there is no one living today that knows the answer to my question. Unless---maybe one of my three brothers heard the story sometime when I was not present. I will check with each one of them soon.

Meanwhile, give this contest a try. Remember that memoir writing is classified as creative nonfiction. True stories that are written using fiction techniques. 
A checklist for you:
1.  Add enough sensory details to bring your story to life. 
2.  Use active rather than passive verbs. 
3.  Show rather than tell. 
4.  Sprinkle in some dialogue. 

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