Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir

Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir

Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir

Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir


Everyone has a story to tell. Fearless Confessions is a guidebook for people who want to take possession of their lives by putting their experiences down on paper--or in a Web site or e-book. Enhanced with illustrative examples from many different writers as well as writing exercises, this guide helps writers navigate a range of issues from craft to ethics to marketing and will be useful to both beginners and more accomplished writers.

The rise of interest in memoir recognizes the power of the genre to move and affect not just individual readers but society at large. Sue William Silverman covers traditional writing topics such as metaphor, theme, plot, and voice and also includes chapters on trusting memory and cultivating the courage to tell one's truth in the face of forces--from family members to the media--who would prefer that people with inconvenient pasts and views remain silent.

Silverman, an award-winning memoirist, draws upon her own personal and professional experience to provide an essential resource for transforming life into words that matter. Fearless Confessions is an atlas that contains maps to the remarkable places in each person's life that have yet to be explored.


In Fearless Confessions, I invite you to accompany me as I look back at what I learned on my path toward becoming a writer, hoping to assist you with your own journey. When I first began to write, I struggled through numerous false starts and made many mistakes before gradually understanding how to plot and focus a memoir, find an authentic voice, shape imagery into metaphor—all the elements needed to craft raw experience into a fully formed story. Fearless Confessions also contains exercises and examples to help you cultivate the courage to send your own words out into the world.

Why the title Fearless Confessions? Critics frequently belittle the entire genre of memoir, especially books by women, by labeling memoir “confessional.” I initially conceived of this book as a way to redeem the notion of “confessing” for silenced women. Additionally, I’ve come to realize that the lives of a whole host of us—rebels, dreamers, anyone considered “other,” regardless of gender—have been marginalized. Many critics don’t yet understand that when we “confess” we seek the commonality of our experiences, thus adding to the full range of what it means to be intensely human. Fearlessly writing memoir allows us to understand our own life narratives, as well as to learn from those “others.”

The more artfully we write, the more difficult it is to ignore or dismiss our stories. Fearless Confessions is intended to help ensure that our voices are heard.

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