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3 Books to Read Before Writing Your Own

Three, three, three reviews in one! Not just for writing a memoir but creative non-fiction and/or a book “that makes a difference.”

Writing a Book That Makes a Difference by Philip Gerard

No instruction manual can really tell you how your book should be written. In fact, many can dull your senses and arouse doubts in your mind about structure, organization and other aspects of how you want to tell your story. Nonetheless, desiring to do exactly what the title of this book describes, “writing a book that makes a difference,” I found it very useful in stimulating my thinking. It helped rather than hindered my choices, although, as I suggested, it really couldn’t tell me what I needed to do. Only after reading many such books did the winnowing process of my own brain absorb a little from this and a little from that. So if you too want to write such a book, go ahead and buy or at least read this early on in the process.

Writing Creative NonfictionThis book may not be 100% comprehensive (a tad redundant, perhaps), but if there is any other one out there that has more to offer on addressing the varieties of style, structure, form and the creative nonfiction process, I haven’t seen it. Being new to the business in 2003 when I began working on Waiting for Westmoreland in earnest, I found the instuctions and insights illuminating, inspiring and confusing all at once. How to choose?! I felt like Alice on her journey after the rabbit. Still, it gave me plenty of techniques to consider–that would not have been as readily discernible had I simply tried to read every book of actual creative nonfiction I could get my hands on.

Writing the Memoir by Judith BarringtonLast but not least, a book directly about writing a memoir.

An excellent book answering FAQs that you didn’t know you had or if you did, you didn’t know how to ask them. As I was crafting my own memoir, this book helped guide me on the path.