Take a pick! They'll all teach you something important.
But basically, you tell your story. That's all.
Except then you rewrite.
Then rewrite again.
Then rewrite once again.
Then rewrite yet again ad infinitum.
putting the re-re-re-rewriten book aside until youve completely forgotten about it
read it again and do your FINAL rewrite.
It might sound stupid, but it puts distance between you and the work. You can approach it as a third party.
tl;dr - write...
longer answer - write often, make time.
That said, if you need structure there are many "systems" and "flows".
One I have seen is "Save the Cat"
But to be honest, if you are not writing and making time to write often, then it's all moot. Don't let non-essentials distract you from this.
although I've been working on mine that seems more like feather by feather
I've seen numerous free or low-cost workshops for memoir writing. Maybe search in your area, checking libraries in particular.
Also, for the newbie writer, being able to read and listen to the work of others is helpful. If you're not used to it, writing can be a very lonely profession.
best I've ever read. I highly recommend it to anyone, including the youngsters who may've never heard of her.
That said, start writing, now! Don't wait. Here are two classic pieces of writing advice that I've put together.
Be brave enough to write badly. Why? Because you can't edit a blank page.
Once you have some work written, look for a critique group. I can't tell you how much my writing has improved because of my critique group, who are now some of my closest friends, despite the shredding they give me every few months.
Scroll down to "Natalies Writing Books"
The True Secret of Writing--Connecting Life with Language
Writing Down the Bones--Freeing the Writer Within
Wild Mind--Living the Writers Life
Thunder & Lightning--Cracking Open the Writers Craft
Old Friend from Far Away--The Practice of Writing Memoir
If you already know a lot about writing but don't know about to to make a book out of it, I'd suggest the last two. The first through fourth are excellent at teaching you how to write.
Apple Pages (https://www.apple.com/pages/)
Apache OpenOffice (https://www.openoffice.org/)
Adobe FrameMaker (https://www.adobe.com/products/framemaker.html)
Last edited Tue Apr 11, 2023, 01:33 AM - Edit history (1)
One needs a subscription to MS-Office to get it.
I'm still on Office 2010 because it can be directly installed on the computer instead of having an online subscription.
A memoir does NOT have to be strictly linear, everything laid out neatly in chronological order.
Jot down, or record, what occurs to you, when it occurs. Even if it seems unrelated to something else you thought you'd focus on. Sometimes the best ideas show up like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle when you don't know exactly where they fit.
Keep a pen and notebook by your bed, in case you wake up thinking about something you might want to include.
Check old snail mail letters if there might be important memories, fresher memories, in those. Ditto for any email you saved.
Check old social media posts or DU posts, if you're one of the DUers who likes to post personal stuff (apologies for not knowing; I don't post much personal stuff and can't keep track of who does).
Talk to relatives and old friends about any events you might want to include.
Check old photos and videos for memories they'll spark.
Just gather a LOT of stuff, and let that suggest how it should be organized. It's possible any editor you deal with, if you don't self-publish, will want it organized differently. But that could happen no matter which book's advice you follow.
Just get the recollections on paper, and then start sculpting.
If I were to do a project now, I'd be using AI chatbots to do the base-level writing. Maybe illustrations too!
No offense intended, but would you feel right publishing something under your name that you hadn't fully originated? I don't know how I feel about it; I'm interested in what you have to say. Thanks!
Both chatbots like ChatGPT and image generators like Midjourney and DALL-E "create" by rearranging bits of what humans have created, much of it ripped off without permission. You can tell the chatbot to write in the style of just about any writer, or Midjourney to copy any artist, and it will.
Real writers and artists aren't exactly happy about this, to put it mildly. There are a number of lawsuits. There will almost certainly be more.
It's true that some people use ChatGPT for first drafts, then tweak it a bit and call it their own. Some students do that for assignments, to cheat, but surveys indicate they know it's cheating.
Editors don't want to see stuff generated by chatbots. I've posted messages about a science fiction magazine that closed off submissions for a while because of the tsunami of garbage from chatbots.
I've also posted about a self-published writer who's used AI, but found if she used it too much her own creativity shut off.
since CNET is doing it, then other factually based publishers are or will soon be doing it as well.
CNET uses it for their basic "explainer" articles (e.g., How does a chatbot work? How to choose a graphics card?).
These explainers used to be written by the junior staffers because they are tedious to write.
Apparently, there have been some factual errors in these articles. I find this very amusing!
In my life, I've been a teacher, a technical writer, a graphics designer, and a sound engineer. If I'm still alive in two or so decades, I'd be totally obsolete!
using AI for articles, with the chatbots making errors that aren't caught by human editors who are supposedly checking for errors. The errors have included potentially harmful health and financial advice, which I don't find "very amusing."
I'm not amused, either, by ChatGPT often providing fake quotes and citations, or claiming real people have committed crimes they haven't committed.
Or churning out bios with false information on schools attended, jobs held, etc.
These chatbots all have disclaimers that they will get things wrong. They will simply invent "facts" that aren't facts. Users are advised to check everything chatbots generate carefully and NOT rely on them for anything important.
It's despicable that any magazine would replace writers with chatbots. It shows those magazines have no respect for their readers and care only about profits. In which case they don't deserve readers.
If you are saying CNET will reap karmic desserts for this, I disagree. Whatever they "deserve," CNET will keep on going despite downsizing its staff in favor of writing bots.
Whereas I personally agree with your points about ownership, good writing, and the dangers of misinformation, these points of view are going to be obsoleted very fast by real-world developments.
Generally speaking, we live in a world that does not value quality. Most people on DU don't even write in complete sentences. (I get lazy too.)
I think smartphones and social media are the worst things to ever happen to the English language.
Personally, I'm not fazed by the idea of chatbots providing misinformation, and that is why I say I am "amused." I expect it. Their source is the internet. The totality of links found in any Google search contains wrong information.
I am also "amused" that the great CNET didn't bother to fact-check their AI-written articles. It's shameful.
If one does use AI assistance for writing or research, it is certainly up to the "author" to properly fact check, or suffer the consequences of putting one's name to incorrect information.
Is rampantly published misinformation dangerous? It certainly scares me. It's a brave new world.
with an internet search providing misinformation, is that the chatbot simplifies the information and often doesn't provide its sources, which it often gets wrong or invents when it does offer them (real authors and reference librarians are already getting tired of having to explain to ChatGPT users that an article or book cited or even quoted by ChatGPT doesn't exist; and businesses are hearing from people wanting products that don't exist but ChatGPT says they sell). And ChatGPT offers people that misinformation in convincing, authoritative prose. When the information comes directly from a trusted source, or a source known to be untrustworthy, people can decide which to trust, rather than letting the chatbot results decide for them.
When Microsoft first introduced Bing AI a couple of months ago (this was before it went haywire in so many extended conversations that MS had to severely limit how long it could interact with users, and on which subjects), it churned out initially impressive results. Initially impressive because no one checked them right away. So MS was spared what happened with Google when their Bard AI had its mistakes caught immediately, and Google stock nosedived. It was only later that those Bing demo results were checked and the media finally let people know Bing had been critiquing a vacuum for having too short a cord when it was in fact cordless, recommending restaurants that didn't exist, etc. It had sounded convincing, and that was all it took to sway most people looking at the results.
It's difficult to fact-check. Difficult and time-consuming.
Btw, if the internet starts to fill up with chatbot-generated mistakes and deliberate misinformation (which chatbots are great for, and they can make even a Lauren Boebert sound superficially intelligent), then it won't be a Brave New World. It will be a Marching Morons New World. An Idiocracy. And that's going to hurt Democrats and liberals much more than it will hurt authoritarians and their followers.
If you were one of my students, you would fail the assignment for being off-topic.
Not Heidi, who is a nonwriter, wants to create a book that will presumably not have wide circulation. She does not state she wants a career as a writer.
I merely suggested she look into using the latest writing assistants, which are AI-based.
I am quite familiar with the inaccuracies of AI-presented information, Bing's problems, Bard's delay, and Google's stock price drop. I read the news.
Like you, I also trained on word processors from the early 1980s. I largely agree with what you say about good writing, bad writing, and bad-faith writing, but the condescending style in which you present ideas is quite off-putting.
You seem to want to impose your value judgments about AI on the world, and in particular, me. Good luck with that.
I'm going to trash this thread. Further posts will not be read.
recommended it. Including using AI for illustrations.
Not Heidi hasn't said anything about whether or not the goal is a published book. So I won't assume the goal is something just for personal satisfaction, or just for self-publishing.
Which is why I pointed out the problems with AI.
I don't consider Not Heidi or anyone else here a "nonwriter." I hope anyone here who wants to write a book will be able to do so, and will be able to reach the audience they want, whatever their goals.
And I hope they'll be able to feel the satisfaction they'll get if it's their own writing. A memoir is deeply personal. It should be their voice.
not for an actual memoir with your own words and feelings.
I'm working on something in between. I want to get "my story" written out for my children, not something to be published and read by the general public. I've taken some memoir courses which were helpful but I think it all depends on what you want to do with it.
for her memoir, _One More Time_. She wrote in her preface that she wanted to go through the stories she'd told her daughters "one more time," so they'd remember.
My inspiration for getting my own experiences on paper has been my best friend's reaction to stories I recently told him about my psycho-bitch-from-hell ex.
Just think of AI in its current chatbot form as an advanced form of autocomplete. You need to supply the inputs.
It's merely the next level of writing assistants. I'm not using chatbot now, but I am using Grammarly. It's checking my spelling and word usage in real time as I write.
It's passe to think of writing as a stream-of-consciousness from mind-to-hand activity. Since the 1980s, word processors have turned good writing practices into something better described as processes of successive revision.
A chatbot lays down some grammatically correct wording for you. It gets you started, but it's up to you to make it better. Change the wording here and there as you see fit to make it your own.
Again, if I were to start a large project, I would be doing it with help from AI, just like I use Grammarly when writing brief emails.
using AI. Giving a prompt to a chatbot is no more writing a rough draft than giving a ghostwriter a couple of ideas is the same as having written what the ghostwriter produces.
I've never needed Grammarly and rarely use spellcheckers or autocomplete, but I've used PCs for writing since the 1980s. I was in a similar discussion the other day, will just link to what I posted there: https://www.democraticunderground.com/100217809380#post17 . As I said there, using conveniences like copy-and-paste to move your own words around isn't comparable to having a chatbot write for you.
If you just change a chatbot's text here and there, you haven't made it your own, any more than an editor or copy editor making a few changes has written a story.
Any more than Trump wrote any of the books he paid writers to do for him. I'm sure he had suggestions, before and after. He still didn't write those books.
And having an LLM (Large Language Model) churn something out for you guarantees it will never really be your own. As long as any of what the chatbot generated remains, it isn't really all your work.
personally consider to be one's own creation. Most people do not have your high standards. For sure, big business doesn't care as long as the money comes in.
We seem to dispute what the term "originates" means. For me, the chatbot is like a computer simulation in that one provides the initial conditions and the "black box" does the rest.
>> I've never needed Grammarly and rarely use spellcheckers or autocomplete,
Good for you. I guess these things were invented for other people.
as fast as they can, and laying people off. Not just writers.
Re what AI generates - the prompts people give it will not produce the same results twice. There's also no way to know if the chatbot offers very similar results to someone else giving it a similar prompt. The chatbot doesn't record and set aside any results it gives you as "your" result. In fact, because of feedback still training LLMs, the more approval it gets for a response, the more likely it will be to offer something similar to someone else in the future, thanks to RLHF ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforcement_learning_from_human_feedback ).
As for what "the rest" means here...
That's the writing part. Which people using chatbots to write for them aren't doing. And IMO it's ultimately harmful for those writers, as it would be to always use scooters to avoid walking when you don't need them. And it will dumb people down, make them increasingly dependent on chatbots. That isn't healthy for any society, especially a democracy.
"Talk to relatives and old friends about any events you might want to include."
And Most Importantly: Do Not wait too long to chat with elders, as time has a way of 'slipping away'...
No matter how many times I asked my Grandma about her life, I could never get enough. And I didn't; she died at 89 in '06. I still don't know how to live in this world without her.
I'll tell you one of my favorite memories of Grandma. One day, when I was 14 or so, she told me to stay away from boys, "because - because it's just like a sssnake!"
Just not much there anyone would want to read...
Writing About Your Life by William Zinsser (which incorporates tips along with stories from the author's life)
Q: I want to write a memoir. Can you give me an outline or guidance to get me started?
A: Writing a memoir can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Here are some steps to get you started:
Identify the central theme or message of your memoir: Before you start writing, you need to have a clear understanding of the main theme or message that you want to convey through your memoir. This will help you stay focused as you write and make sure that your story has a coherent structure.
Determine the scope of your memoir: Decide what period of your life or specific event you want to write about. You may want to focus on a particular period, such as your childhood or teenage years, or a specific event, such as a significant loss or achievement.
Create an outline: Once you have decided on your theme and scope, create an outline of your memoir. This can be a rough sketch of the main events, or a more detailed chapter-by-chapter breakdown.
Gather materials: Collect any materials that may be helpful in writing your memoir, such as photographs, letters, or journal entries. These can help jog your memory and provide additional details that you may have forgotten.
Start writing: Begin writing your memoir, using your outline as a guide. Don't worry about getting everything perfect in the first draft; the most important thing is to get your ideas down on paper.
Revise and edit: Once you have completed your first draft, revise and edit your work. Read it aloud to yourself or ask someone else to read it to help you identify areas that need improvement.
Seek feedback: Show your memoir to a trusted friend, family member, or writing group for feedback. Listen to their suggestions and use them to improve your work.
Publish your memoir: Once you are satisfied with your memoir, consider publishing it. You can self-publish, find a literary agent, or submit your work to a publishing house.
Remember, writing a memoir is a process that takes time and effort. But with persistence and dedication, you can create a compelling story that will resonate with readers. Good luck!