How do you overcome a slow build-up in a memoir?


Opening Salvos by Matilda Butler

“I’ve been writing since I was a little girl,” author Becky Levine told me recently. She even seems to have had her eye on publishing because she continued, “I wrote stories all the time. I even sent them off to magazines like Cosmopolitan and Redbook, which was pretty funny.”

Along the way, Becky discovered the importance of the critique group or even a critique partner. Most of us think of writing, this crafting of story and word, as a lonely enterprise. Becky urges us to realize that great results are often the result of soliciting and listening to the feedback of others. Not just any critiques, of course. But critiques that help us develop our strengths.

Opening-salvos-becky-book-cover I was talking to Becky because I wanted her perspective on writing memoir openings. Not only has she been in critique groups for years, but she is also under contract to write The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide for Writers Digest. In our interview, Becky told me about two common weaknesses in openings that she finds — (1) a slow build up and (2) a lack of clear goal or motivation for the story.  

If you’d like to hear her advice for recognizing and overcoming these weaknesses, you can find her interview on my website. Click Here

One response to “How do you overcome a slow build-up in a memoir?

  1. Dear Matilda and Becky,
    Excellent interview. Yes, I feel it’s so important for functional critique groups have guidelines. I’ve tended to find writing/critique partners far more effected and suited to my temperament and way of working than critique groups. Some groups have proved to have been destructive both to me personally and to my work. Many do not at all understand the principles of good and ethical critiquing. Training in this is needed.
    Writing buddies have been consistently supportive and helpful to my work…more focused…and, lots more fun.
    In groups, I’ve seen several successful models…it’s good that Becky Levine is writing on this important topic.
    If you google “critique riehlife” you’ll find several interesting posts on critiquing by myself and others in the archive of my site.
    Janet Riehl
    “Riehl Life: Village Wisdom for the 21st century.”

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