Wednesday I invited you to submit a Mother’s Day vignette by April 30. (You can read that post here.)
Several of you are busily writing, and I’m enjoying everyone’s enthusiasm. I’ll select one vignette to publish here the week before Mother’s Day.
Remember, every person is complex. Develop your character’s shortcomings, redeeming qualities, beliefs, relationships with others, prejudices, body language, tone of voice, attitudes, and quirks.
Was she sentimental or no-nonsense? Consistent or inconsistent? Gentle or gruff? Did she stand tall or did she slouch? Did she stress the importance of good table manners? What else was important to her?
Was she optimistic? Check out The Bookshelf Muse’s post today about describing an optimistic person. Angela and Becca aim their blog at fiction writers, but we nonfiction writers can discover gems for our writing, too. I hope you’ll take time to get acquainted with their rich resources. (You’ll also find an icon for The Bookshelf Muse here on my blog in the right sidebar.)
For describing the people, you’ll find inspiration from a recent FaithWriters post, Four Dimensional Characterization, by Cate Russell-Cole.
Include emotions and sensory details:
You’ll find tips from Kathleen Pooler’s blog post, Evoking Emotions: The power of Sensory Detail in Storytelling, and from my earlier post, Method Writing. (I can't get that link to work, so here it is: http://spiritualmemoirs101.blogspot.com/2011/06/method-writing-helps-your-memoir-come.html)
Polish your lead—your opening sentences:
A lead can make or break a story: It can lure readers into it or send them away. Remember, most writers craft the lead after they’ve written the main body of the vignette.
Here are links to earlier posts about leads:
Give special attention to your vignette’s conclusion:
A weak ending can make a vignette fall short of its potential impact, but a strong ending is where the beauty of memoir shines.
Here are links to earlier posts about crafting an ending:
Links to mother-related pieces in the blogosphere:
While these are essays—not in memoir format—they will give you ideas:
Over at A Diamond in the Rough, Jessica writes This Holy Work on being a new young mother.
In The Hum of Something Holy over at The High Calling, two of Emily Wierenga’s phrases zinged right to my heart because my mother’s eyes are almost all that remains of the dear mother I’ve always known. Emily says, “…She looks at me with the same eyes that she’s always had.… And her eyes, they tell me she’s still my mom.… ”
I Remember My Mom, my green tea-cher, will help jog your memories.
My favorite, Pease Please by Donna DeWeerd, was the Grand Prize Winner last December over at Women’s Memoirs. Donna’s subtlety—what she doesn’t say—is very effective. Her message is powerful, too.
You might be interested in the Sixth National Women’s Conference entitled “Pearls of Wisdom: Memoirs About Mothers” which takes place in Austin, Texas, April 13-15. I’ve never attended one of their conferences but it looks good.
When you’ve polished your Mother’s Day story, submit it by April 30 for consideration. I’ll be happy to edit it if you wish.
Your vignette should be 700 words or less in a Word document, sent as an attachment, to grandmaletters [at] aol [dot] com. (Replace [at] with @ and replace [dot] with a period, scrunch it all together, and that should reach me.) Please write “Mother’s Day Vignette for SM 101” in the subject line so I’ll know it’s not spam. Thanks.
I’ll choose one story to publish here the week before Mother’s Day.