Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Learning from One of the Best

Over the last few days I have read Linda Joy Myers memoir, Don’t Call Me Mother.  It has been such a beneficial experience for me–a blessing from God, with intent behind it.

The blessing has been to see several different techniques used and not just expounded about.  Those techniques are:

                                     alternating happier and sadder scenes, lighter and darker moments.  Interspersing the hard scenes with positive, in other words–giving the overall effect of the reality that life is compound, and that a life has been afflicted, but there have also been moments of a sense of God’s favor, too.

                                     breaking the story up into scenes–just like in a movie.  I can see how you could have a “story board” ahead of time to give you some sense of direction and sequence.  Maybe the order would change as you write, or other scenes might come into the sequence, but at least I would have a map to start with.

                                     taking the time to show, using description of sensory details in each scene so the reader (through the power of their imagination) can actually experience the scene with the characters–especially the protagonist/narrator (Which, I think, would always be the same person in a memoir. . . . I’m not sure about this.  It seems like I read that the narrator can focus on another character’s story and being using that character as the protagonist, while they, the narrator stay in the background.)

                                     Slowing down the passage of time by including more scenes in a certain time frame and then speeding up the time by putting less scenes in a time period.  In other words, in between 5 and 14 years of age, there could be a couple dozen scenes described (as in Myers book), then between 14 and 25, only a dozen.  As she got toward the end of the book, which brings the reader up to her present (when the book was published), the scenes were months and even years apart and some had much less detail.  The “camera” didn’t linger over them.

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