By Joanne M. Lozar Glenn
Gave myself a treat this month: I attended the inaugural HippoCamp writers conference on creative nonfiction in Lancaster, Pa. What a great job conference organizer Donna Talarico-Beerman and her team did in creating a positive and generous atmosphere in which to encounter and interact with other writers. Below, some nuggets from my notes.
Don't think: What's the point I want to make? Think cinema. Think, what's the story that will lead to that point?--Lee Gutkind, founder of Creative Nonfiction (journal)
Collage essay is best used not to tell a story but to bring a bunch of ideas or touchpoints together. It pays attention to prosody rather than narrative.--Sarah Einstein, author, Mot: A Memoir
I did not think about audience. I thought about how could I write a story that would make the audience feel as if they had lived that story. -- Amy Jo Burns, author, Cinderland
To make your nonfiction more poetic, pay attention to harmony, beat, cadence, word sound and length, punctuation, assonance, and alliteration. --Viannah Duncan, poet and editor
What is a flash memoir? A slice [of life], and then a smaller slice. -- Jenna McGuiggan, founder, The Word Cellar
Lots of times writers have two stories written together. Determine the dominant vs. the supporting story line. -- Curtis Smith, essayist
On the business of writing:
Don't have cookie-cutter content across all social media. --Gale Martin, novelist and director of marcomm at Harcum College (Pa.)
Submit a proposal [for your nonfiction book] because it shows you've really thought it through. --Nicole Frail, editor, Skyhorse Press
Treat Twitter and Instagram as extensions of your brand ... but understand the distinction between public work and personal persona. --D. Watkins, author and Salon columnist
Keep calm, write more. There is no one model, only your model. --Jane Friedman, writer and instructor, online writing and publishing, University of Virginia
On literary citizenship:
Put other stories before your own. Where can you help another writer get something s/he wants? -- Jennifer Hill, poet, playwright, arts educator, performer, Paper Kits Press and PA Council on the Arts
Your success as a writer is not the same as your success as a human being.--Amy Jo Burns, author, Cinderland
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ABOUT JOANNE M. LOZAR GLENN
Joanne M. Lozar Glenn is an independent writer, editor, and educator based in Alexandria, Va., whose essays and poems have appeared in print and online literary magazines. She is a coauthor of the forthcoming Memoir Your Way: How to Use Quilts, Recipes, Scrapbooks, Writing, and More to Tell Your Story (Skyhorse Press, 2016) and leads destination writing retreats at the beach and in the mountains.
Note: This article is reprinted with permission from Writers Write Newsletter.