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Fast Draft Your Memoir

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This is your roadmap for completing the memoir you've dreamed about writing. "Rachael Herron resonates with our audience, and not just because she knows her stuff--she does--or because she's hilarious--she is--but because her honesty and earnestness come through in all her messaging." Samantha Sanders, Writer's Digest Writing memoir is daunting! You're the expert on your l This is your roadmap for completing the memoir you've dreamed about writing. "Rachael Herron resonates with our audience, and not just because she knows her stuff--she does--or because she's hilarious--she is--but because her honesty and earnestness come through in all her messaging." Samantha Sanders, Writer's Digest Writing memoir is daunting! You're the expert on your life, naturally, but narrating and organizing your own experiences in the best way can feel impossible. Many writers become frustrated in early drafting stages and quit after a couple of brief attempts. Learn from bestselling memoirist Rachael Herron (who teaches this class at Stanford Continuing Studies) how to fast-draft your memoir while keeping its structure compelling. Learn how to frame your life's story and give it a natural arc to keep your reader glued to the page. Figure out how to handle those family and friends you're writing about. Explore what truth means in memoir. Work quickly to quiet the inner critic. Most of all, learn how to get out of your own way to get the words on the page. You can do this! Rachael will show you how.


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This is your roadmap for completing the memoir you've dreamed about writing. "Rachael Herron resonates with our audience, and not just because she knows her stuff--she does--or because she's hilarious--she is--but because her honesty and earnestness come through in all her messaging." Samantha Sanders, Writer's Digest Writing memoir is daunting! You're the expert on your l This is your roadmap for completing the memoir you've dreamed about writing. "Rachael Herron resonates with our audience, and not just because she knows her stuff--she does--or because she's hilarious--she is--but because her honesty and earnestness come through in all her messaging." Samantha Sanders, Writer's Digest Writing memoir is daunting! You're the expert on your life, naturally, but narrating and organizing your own experiences in the best way can feel impossible. Many writers become frustrated in early drafting stages and quit after a couple of brief attempts. Learn from bestselling memoirist Rachael Herron (who teaches this class at Stanford Continuing Studies) how to fast-draft your memoir while keeping its structure compelling. Learn how to frame your life's story and give it a natural arc to keep your reader glued to the page. Figure out how to handle those family and friends you're writing about. Explore what truth means in memoir. Work quickly to quiet the inner critic. Most of all, learn how to get out of your own way to get the words on the page. You can do this! Rachael will show you how.

30 review for Fast Draft Your Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Toby Neal

    This little book is all you need to tackle a personal Everest! Rachael Herron has written a wonderful gem of a useful book in Fast-Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours ! Where was this book when I needed it? I spent almost ten years writing my memoir, Freckled: a Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii, trying different approaches, tearing it apart and putting it back together...and in the final stages, I came across Rachael Herron's concise little handbook! This method could have save This little book is all you need to tackle a personal Everest! Rachael Herron has written a wonderful gem of a useful book in Fast-Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours ! Where was this book when I needed it? I spent almost ten years writing my memoir, Freckled: a Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii, trying different approaches, tearing it apart and putting it back together...and in the final stages, I came across Rachael Herron's concise little handbook! This method could have saved me SO MUCH WORK, angst, and confusion! Not only is it a brilliant approach, but it's well written, witty and wise, easy to read, and inspiring, with Rachael's lyrical, heartwarming vignettes providing helpful examples. If you are considering writing your personal story--don't try it without grabbing this book!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marrije

    I'm not going to write a memoir, but I loved this book: super useful, packed with good tips and filled to the brim with Rachael's warm, supportive, funny voice. Highly recommended if you want to write either fiction or memoir. I'm not going to write a memoir, but I loved this book: super useful, packed with good tips and filled to the brim with Rachael's warm, supportive, funny voice. Highly recommended if you want to write either fiction or memoir.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    This was the first book about how to write a memoir that I’ve read, so I can’t compare to others. I did learn a lot from it that didn’t seem “obvious”. Some of this could also pertain to other genres of writing, especially the editing and publishing sections. I really enjoyed the publishing section. I also liked that it was short because it usually takes me a while to read writing books since I’m underlining, highlighting, and putting sticky tabs everywhere. Overall, a great intro to how to writ This was the first book about how to write a memoir that I’ve read, so I can’t compare to others. I did learn a lot from it that didn’t seem “obvious”. Some of this could also pertain to other genres of writing, especially the editing and publishing sections. I really enjoyed the publishing section. I also liked that it was short because it usually takes me a while to read writing books since I’m underlining, highlighting, and putting sticky tabs everywhere. Overall, a great intro to how to write memoirs.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kat Anderberg

    I don't write memoir, but this book was well worth it just for the half of it about outlining, drafting, and revising. She breaks everything down so well, and the writing process makes so much sense! I don't write memoir, but this book was well worth it just for the half of it about outlining, drafting, and revising. She breaks everything down so well, and the writing process makes so much sense!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Y

    Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book is great. If you are thinking of ever putting down your life in words, this is a book to read. Rachael's style is fun, light, and a great combination of older-sister-fairy-godmother-wise-mentor that made me smile throughout. I rarely mark spots in books to come back to, but I have a dozen or more (strike that - twenty one!) in this one - mostly the really excellent exercises and most of the writing tip chapters Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book is great. If you are thinking of ever putting down your life in words, this is a book to read. Rachael's style is fun, light, and a great combination of older-sister-fairy-godmother-wise-mentor that made me smile throughout. I rarely mark spots in books to come back to, but I have a dozen or more (strike that - twenty one!) in this one - mostly the really excellent exercises and most of the writing tip chapters at the end. I think a lot of this advice would be useful for any kind of writing, not just memoir. I know I'll be coming back to reference this one in the future just as much as I do Stephen King's On Writing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ann Lewis

    My favorite parts of this book always seemed to be when she's quoting another author. This writing approach (speed) didn't sync with me all that much but there are some good tips. I liked reading about how she revises her drafts. I'm giving it 3 because it didn't entice me to write and there wasn't much new here that isn't said better elsewhere. My favorite parts of this book always seemed to be when she's quoting another author. This writing approach (speed) didn't sync with me all that much but there are some good tips. I liked reading about how she revises her drafts. I'm giving it 3 because it didn't entice me to write and there wasn't much new here that isn't said better elsewhere.

  7. 5 out of 5

    C.M. Subasic

    This book is insightful, a good writer's resource. It outlines a process to follow which is sound, soulful and will help you to write your memoirs. Why only three stars, then? The author doesn't really deliver on the title. The tasks outlined here could not be performed in 45 hours. I lost faith when she suggested developing a daily meditation and journaling practise. There's nothing wrong with either of these activities. (I encourage them!) It was at this point, however, that I realized the titl This book is insightful, a good writer's resource. It outlines a process to follow which is sound, soulful and will help you to write your memoirs. Why only three stars, then? The author doesn't really deliver on the title. The tasks outlined here could not be performed in 45 hours. I lost faith when she suggested developing a daily meditation and journaling practise. There's nothing wrong with either of these activities. (I encourage them!) It was at this point, however, that I realized the title is clickbait. Rachael speaks of the importance of truth in memoir. The author's truth (and what truth is, changes, just as stories change as we tell them). I know titles are a part of the marketing package of a book. But you can't call a book a 3-minute egg and deliver live chicken. Authors don't just peddle a story, a process, an idea. The gift of writing is about developing a relationship. Like any relationship, trust is a big part of it. So if you sell me home delivered dinner, but what ends up at my door is box of seeds with instructions for growing a salad, I'll be hangry. Within the pages she is truthful. To write a memoir that contains a single narrative and is anything longer than 10 pages, it's going to take time, effort, learning, and more effort. She doesn't even consider the point that perhaps a memoir can be made of many stories. That not everyone wants to publish for a broad audience. The typesetting also jangled slightly (I have a typesetter's background) when subheadings were left dangling at the bottom of many pages, like lost little leaders looking for their paragraphs. Poor things. I know it's not a huge deal for some readers, but for me, it screamed, "unprofessional". In addition, as much as I found her exercises and insights useful, the writing style was a little to "chatty Cathy" for me. Too much about her, trying too hard to be liked. I would like her a lot more if she didn't work so hard trying to be charming. So many found this book useful, and I can see why. There are few good books out there on memoir. So, if you're interested, this could be a good pace to start.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Rachael Herron’s Fast Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours holds a little something for almost every writer. Having gone to graduate school for creative writing and having taken an intense creative non-fiction workshop while there, I read the book with a critical eye. While I enjoy Herron’s writing—non-fiction and fiction—I was ready for this to be for novice writers. I was ready to say, ‘this was informative, but I’ve heard it all before.’ Was I ever mistaken! Writers who have r Rachael Herron’s Fast Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours holds a little something for almost every writer. Having gone to graduate school for creative writing and having taken an intense creative non-fiction workshop while there, I read the book with a critical eye. While I enjoy Herron’s writing—non-fiction and fiction—I was ready for this to be for novice writers. I was ready to say, ‘this was informative, but I’ve heard it all before.’ Was I ever mistaken! Writers who have read a number of classic writing craft books will recognize important quotes Herron integrates, but they won’t be bored by them. Herron is never didactic as she explains what the quotes mean to her writing life and how she uses them with an invitation to the reader to do the same. She includes excellent exercises that a writer at any level—and of any genre—will find useful in conceptualizing a new book. My favorite part of the book, though, is the revision section. Herron outlines specific, direct steps to take, demystifying the part of the writing process that can be a roadblock for many writers. Herron writes with wit and empathy, cheering the reader on to write their own work. This is an excellent addition to any writer’s craft book shelf!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Gold

    I've been coming across this book at the library for a couple of years, and I never picked it up because the title sounded gimmicky. I'm so glad I got past that, because this book is SOLID. It's not only full of good writing craft tips specific to memoir, it's also got great advice on the writing process. And the tone is light, supportive, empathetic, and encouraging. I'm going to be buying my own copy. I've been coming across this book at the library for a couple of years, and I never picked it up because the title sounded gimmicky. I'm so glad I got past that, because this book is SOLID. It's not only full of good writing craft tips specific to memoir, it's also got great advice on the writing process. And the tone is light, supportive, empathetic, and encouraging. I'm going to be buying my own copy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    If you love books about writing, this is the book for you! If you want to write a memoir, this is the book for you! If you are a writer that doesn’t want to write a memoir, this book is for you! It is a workshop in book form. I was lucky enough to snag an early copy for review. I read a lot of writing books but this one is different. I actually read this book and did the exercises. It motivated me to write. It reads like a conversation between you and the author which is a style I gravitate to. I p If you love books about writing, this is the book for you! If you want to write a memoir, this is the book for you! If you are a writer that doesn’t want to write a memoir, this book is for you! It is a workshop in book form. I was lucky enough to snag an early copy for review. I read a lot of writing books but this one is different. I actually read this book and did the exercises. It motivated me to write. It reads like a conversation between you and the author which is a style I gravitate to. I particularly like Rachel's voice in the first two chapters. I love the fact that this is her class in book form. She teaches at Stanford (STANFORD!!!) She is completely reassuring that if you have reservations about telling your story. Her reassurance is humorous: “It won't accidentally end up on a bookstore shelf.” "After the book is complete, and after you’ve revised it once or twice with the help of a good editor who is not related to you (more on this later), only then do you start to decide how to handle the truths you are going to put out into the world." "But in memoir, we go into the deepest parts of ourselves, and we lift them up into the light. We display our broken bits. We show ourselves, naked and flawed" I did her 15 min exercise and ended up putting down 850 words. If I multiply that x4 my hour word count is 3400 words. I really have no excuse for not writing. She talks directly to the reader throughout the book. She guides you through the exercises which make them more personal. This book is an experience, not just a read through or workbook. The outlining section was the one I was afraid of. I went through the instructions and have a great outline started - that went in a COMPLETELY different direction then what I thought at the beginning of the book. That felt like magic. My memoir right now is hard to write. Some of the things I NEED to write about are too fresh. I make notes and write through some things but it is not ready for anyone to see it. I also realized that my professional book about education is really a memoir. So I have been able to use the same exercises to outline my book. Story structure is not ignored in this book either. There are examples for each section so as the writer you truly understand what Rachael is asking you to do. She even helps with the productivity schedule There is reassurance and heart in this book. If you are a writer or even have a glimmer of a thought of being a writer in any capacity...order! You won't be sorry.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I thought this book was helpful. Things I wanted to remember: A memoir is the story of a specific slice of time in one’s life or the story or stories on a specific theme in one’s life. It's more interesting to the reader. You can have multiple memoirs. Autobiography is the story of your whole life, just write one. Don’t try to sound perfect, it's not interesting or believable. Show awesomeness and flaws. Reader will relate to the real you. Report not only what happened but what it meant. Wait to I thought this book was helpful. Things I wanted to remember: A memoir is the story of a specific slice of time in one’s life or the story or stories on a specific theme in one’s life. It's more interesting to the reader. You can have multiple memoirs. Autobiography is the story of your whole life, just write one. Don’t try to sound perfect, it's not interesting or believable. Show awesomeness and flaws. Reader will relate to the real you. Report not only what happened but what it meant. Wait to write about grief etc until it’s not painful. “If you’re lost in the vortex of grief that’s because what you loved was worthy.” Be objective. Be honest with reader but don’t make relatives mad. Remember the feel (emotions) of the room and stay true to it even if you don’t remember all the details. Write a fast draft knowing it will be terrible, then go back and revise. First you just have to get it all down. Practice exercise: Write non stop about “home is...” don’t stop and read or fix mistakes. Write down the top 6 pivotal moments that shaped you as a human. No more no less. Tell your story in just six words. (Ex: For sale, baby shoes, never worn.) Choose one pivotal moment to write about. Like a tombstone epitaph. Distill what’s most important to you. About you, not being your kids mother etc. In any story the main character needs to undergo change. You have to change, show where you began and ended up. We learn from others experiences and from watching how they adapt to what happens to them. Story structure is 4 boxes: Your hero (you) has a different job in each box. Between boxes are big things that happen. Introduction, reaction, action, resolution. 1: Introduce yourself, set up stakes of story, gain readers empathy (they need to know the background to care about what happens), something happens (the hook) at beginning that grabs attention because interesting and immediate. Not the first plot point/when things really change, simple, just keep interested. Then something big happens forcing change-first plot point. 2: Reacting to events/people around you. Not making real change. Something happens, big enough to reevaluate own story. Context shifting mid point. 3: Turn into person who acts, not react. Then the worst thing happens. Time things looked bleakest. 4: Fight so hard finally triumph. Become the self you’ve been trying to change into. Fixed external problematic situation too. (Ch 12) Can move scenes around to fit this pattern. Don’t have to write chronologically. Write the ending right after you write the beginning so you know where you’re heading with the middle. Have a scheduled routine to write a certain amount of time on certain days of week. 45 min writing non stop then 15 min break works well. Just write now and much later you can fix it. Meditation helps your thinking and makes your mind stronger. The emotion thesaurus is a book that describes what happens externally with different emotions. Use to describe in your writing. Be specific in the detail of senses. For details you can’t remember, use the 80% rule. If you’re 80% sure it could have happened like that, then use it. You can make guesses based on what you know and remember. Show the moments in your life. Make them real, make them completely specific to you thus making them universally understandable and the reader will care even if they’re not dramatic. Ch 20

  12. 5 out of 5

    A.M.

    Some absolute pearls of wisdom here, and not just for memoir writing. She talks about writer’s voice, and Rachael’s own is very evident, here. I listen to a couple of her podcasts so I feels as if I know how she talks. She read the audiobook herself so it must be even more obvious there. Writing is the muse. Ideas pretty much only come to me when I’m in the physical act of writing. My muse is just blue-collar Rachael. I show up at the desk. I open the document. I start typing. After a little while Some absolute pearls of wisdom here, and not just for memoir writing. She talks about writer’s voice, and Rachael’s own is very evident, here. I listen to a couple of her podcasts so I feels as if I know how she talks. She read the audiobook herself so it must be even more obvious there. Writing is the muse. Ideas pretty much only come to me when I’m in the physical act of writing. My muse is just blue-collar Rachael. I show up at the desk. I open the document. I start typing. After a little while, my muse comes into the office, reeking of smoke and cheap brandy, but she sits on the couch and starts to feed me ideas. (Kindle Locations 1440-1443). The muse had run off to Vegas… don’t ask, just show up at your desk at the same time. But for most of my professional writing career , I’ve needed to leave the house to write . This is most especially true for first drafts of fiction . I still can’t pull this off at home . Home , to me , means a thousand square feet of Things I Should Be Doing . This morning , while on breaks from writing , I’ve washed a load of clothes , hung out hand - knit socks to dry , done the dishes , started another load of laundry , let the dogs in and out approximately four hundred times , and made myself two snacks . It’s not even noon . (Kindle Locations 1486-1490). *blinks* I feel personally attacked… There is a ton of great advice about publishing, agents, self publishing and marketing. And lots of examples and exercises. And she’s walking the talk… or whatever that saying is. Rachael is both a self published and a trad published author. And she lectures on this exact topic at UC Berkeley and Stanford. One thing, I know Rachael does her own ebook internal setup and clearly she does it well - this book is pretty inside. 5 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christina Howell

    Great tool for memoir writing that's actually fun to read I've been writing a memoir for an embarrassing length of time. Without direction, I was wandering aimlessly and had no concrete ideas on how to proceed. I sent a couple chapters to a friend who does some editing and the critical feedback was so hard to bear that even thinking about my writing made me ill. This book was exactly what I needed. I recognized some of the elements the editor pointed out and was able to frame it in a helpful ligh Great tool for memoir writing that's actually fun to read I've been writing a memoir for an embarrassing length of time. Without direction, I was wandering aimlessly and had no concrete ideas on how to proceed. I sent a couple chapters to a friend who does some editing and the critical feedback was so hard to bear that even thinking about my writing made me ill. This book was exactly what I needed. I recognized some of the elements the editor pointed out and was able to frame it in a helpful light and understand in a way that wasn't painful or personal. This book gave me the courage to try again and it gave me tools I was lacking previously. Rachael breaks things down into manageable steps in a way that is not only way to understand but is a joy to read. She interjects the perfect amount of humor and sympathy to each lesson and provides examples that clearly drive home why each lesson is important. I followed along with the exercises and realized that I need to start and end my memoir in entirely different points in my life than I'd planned. The exercises lead you through some serious introspection that will pay off to develop your story arc and themes. Really wish I would have read this book eight years ago. Do I have my first draft at the end of this read? No. I still have a lot of work ahead of me but I feel so much better equipped now. I have direction, purpose and belief that I really can finish this memoir.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jay Artale

    I've been writing a memoir for years, and have additional memoir ideas up my sleeve (well, burning a hole in a Scrivener project file). This book is the kick in the pants I needed. I like the idea of fast-drafting - but needed the grounding and foundational knowledge of what makes a good memoir and why. This book by Rachael Herron delivers that. When I read non-fiction, I don't want all the fluff and furry stuff, I want a direct, tell me like it is, tell me what I need, tell me what I don't need I've been writing a memoir for years, and have additional memoir ideas up my sleeve (well, burning a hole in a Scrivener project file). This book is the kick in the pants I needed. I like the idea of fast-drafting - but needed the grounding and foundational knowledge of what makes a good memoir and why. This book by Rachael Herron delivers that. When I read non-fiction, I don't want all the fluff and furry stuff, I want a direct, tell me like it is, tell me what I need, tell me what I don't need to do, and let me focus on achieving my goals. Rachael does just that. There is warmth and approachability in her content delivery (I listened to the audio version which is narrated by Rachael), but she also cuts to the chase about the best approach for getting the first, ugly, badly written, warts n' all draft of your memoir out on that page. That first draft is the foundation you'll work with to create a compelling memoir with all the required story arcs and elements that a reader in this genre expects. I finished listening to it within a week, and am now on my second way through it. Yes, she did warn me that I needed to do the exercises she set during the first read through, but I decided to ignore that advice and committed to listening to this book a second time. She's reawakened my excitement for writing, completing, and publishing a memoir. Now my head is spinning with possible story themes and arcs. Thanks Rachael ....

  15. 5 out of 5

    Zoom

    I started reading this book in 2018 and finished it last night. Why did it take me so long, and why did I keep going back to it? It took me so long because it inspired me to write. So I kept stopping reading to start writing. So in that sense, this book definitely worked for me, which is why I kept going back to it. And also because Rachael wrote it and she's got such a warm, friendly, encouraging way about her. According to Rachael, I can write the first draft of my life story in 45 hours, notwi I started reading this book in 2018 and finished it last night. Why did it take me so long, and why did I keep going back to it? It took me so long because it inspired me to write. So I kept stopping reading to start writing. So in that sense, this book definitely worked for me, which is why I kept going back to it. And also because Rachael wrote it and she's got such a warm, friendly, encouraging way about her. According to Rachael, I can write the first draft of my life story in 45 hours, notwithstanding that it took me four years to read about how to do it. And even though I read it, and I get it, I know I will never follow Rachael's method, which is, well, much more methodical than mine. Rachael's method involves a process that goes from concept to outline to draft to revision to book. My method is to write when I feel like it and just started writing and see where it goes, edit and revise as I go, and stop when I don't feel like it anymore. Rachael's method has resulted in a whole lot of finished books. My method has resulted in a whole lot of beginnings. Hmmm. I think I just talked myself into doing it Rachael's way. Or at least starting her way, and at least getting an outline done.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lori Johnstone

    I feel so motivated, like I’m not afraid to tackle the structure of my memoir anymore. I so appreciated the advice given by the author in this book. I have to say I really want to complete this project and have it published, but I also enjoy reading books on the craft of writing and learning all I can. I think I was flailing around with how to approach the writing of this thing, though, but Rachael made me feel like I may finally understand how to piece this one together. I especially loved how I feel so motivated, like I’m not afraid to tackle the structure of my memoir anymore. I so appreciated the advice given by the author in this book. I have to say I really want to complete this project and have it published, but I also enjoy reading books on the craft of writing and learning all I can. I think I was flailing around with how to approach the writing of this thing, though, but Rachael made me feel like I may finally understand how to piece this one together. I especially loved how she tackled the idea of time, which can be especially complex for writers of memoir. This was an audiobook so I got to hear the sincerity and spirit of the writer’s voice. She has a great voice for audiobooks. Further, you really feel like you are having a nice chat with your friend about writing. Except that it’s totally one sided and I would have nothing to add. And she spoke to me for hours on end. But that’s not the point, the point is, I would listen to her again and definitely recommend it to others.

  17. 5 out of 5

    J. N.

    Note: I received an advance digital copy of this book to review for my blog readingaboutwriting.com. I’ve been writing memoir for four years now and this is the third or fourth writing book I’ve read on the subject and it is my new favorite. With the same warm friendly tone as her podcast, Herron leads the reader through the history of memoir and the joys of exploring topics, narrowing in on sub-genre, and creating a satisfying arc. With her help I was able to see how to actually dig a manuscript Note: I received an advance digital copy of this book to review for my blog readingaboutwriting.com. I’ve been writing memoir for four years now and this is the third or fourth writing book I’ve read on the subject and it is my new favorite. With the same warm friendly tone as her podcast, Herron leads the reader through the history of memoir and the joys of exploring topics, narrowing in on sub-genre, and creating a satisfying arc. With her help I was able to see how to actually dig a manuscript out of hundreds of pages of previous memoir work and give my hobby real direction and specific scope. My favorite moment in the book was when she called the reader out on being about to skip the writing exercise she wanted you to do—because that is indeed the hardest part of reading a writing book, breaking from reading mode into writing mode and putting the techniques into practice immediately.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica H

    I never once thought about writing a memoir. My life was, at a glance, dull. Still is, really. But Rachael Herron's latest book, Fast-Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours has me thinking a bit differently. While I love Herron's work from her blogs to her romance novels, this book shows two things. First: This is a woman whose genre cannot be pigeonholed. Second: Anyone can write a memoir. Even boring, unexciting me. In a quick but educational chapter by chapter breakdown, Herron take I never once thought about writing a memoir. My life was, at a glance, dull. Still is, really. But Rachael Herron's latest book, Fast-Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours has me thinking a bit differently. While I love Herron's work from her blogs to her romance novels, this book shows two things. First: This is a woman whose genre cannot be pigeonholed. Second: Anyone can write a memoir. Even boring, unexciting me. In a quick but educational chapter by chapter breakdown, Herron takes you through the process of creating a memoir, showing that if you have a story about your life, you have a memoir in you. Discussing difficult topics as how to write about people still living and remembering the details of conversations long past, her friendly tone and enthusiasm for writing itself bleeds through every page, and by the end I wanted to take pen to paper and find some stories for myself. note: I received an advance copy of this publication for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Annika Klein

    This is a fantastic resource for anyone who has a personal story to tell, or who thinks they might have a personal story to tell, or who just wonders how people tell personal stories. I read an advance copy in advance of attempting to write a book (fiction, but based on real events in my life, so as close to memoir as I’m likely to get in the near future). I did not work through the exercises in the first read, but I will be going back and doing them; even just a quick read-through helped me to This is a fantastic resource for anyone who has a personal story to tell, or who thinks they might have a personal story to tell, or who just wonders how people tell personal stories. I read an advance copy in advance of attempting to write a book (fiction, but based on real events in my life, so as close to memoir as I’m likely to get in the near future). I did not work through the exercises in the first read, but I will be going back and doing them; even just a quick read-through helped me to let go of so many ideas I had that were really just roadblocks. Rachael is a skilled teacher who has managed to write a how-to book that is like having a friend encouraging you, cheering you on, and also telling you when you’re being dumb.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen G

    I read this because I'm a fan of Rachael's books and her website, even though the thought of writing a memoir had never crossed my mind. And now...I'm planning on writing my memoir. Just for me. Because I want to see what my memoir ends up like! This was a fun and easy book to read and I'm enjoying going back through and working on the writing challenges and seeing how my memoir is evolving. Whether or not you want to be a published author doesn't matter (although there are great tips, suggestio I read this because I'm a fan of Rachael's books and her website, even though the thought of writing a memoir had never crossed my mind. And now...I'm planning on writing my memoir. Just for me. Because I want to see what my memoir ends up like! This was a fun and easy book to read and I'm enjoying going back through and working on the writing challenges and seeing how my memoir is evolving. Whether or not you want to be a published author doesn't matter (although there are great tips, suggestions, and recommendations if you're interested in publishing), it's the challenge and the fun of taking a step back and looking at who you are and how you got there that makes me recommend this book. I received an advance copy of this book, but this is one I'm buying!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marlene Cullen

    Excellent choice for a how-to-write-memoir book. Rachel Herron is genuine and authentic. Reading “Fast-Draft Your Memoir in 45 Hours” is like having a chat with Rachael over tea and scones. She is motivating and inspiring. She encourages with a can-do attitude. She reveals what not to do, how to write your memoir even if you have forgotten details using the 80% rule, how to handle writing about family, and more. She informs about story arc, pivotal events, the six-word memoir, and more. Pick up Excellent choice for a how-to-write-memoir book. Rachel Herron is genuine and authentic. Reading “Fast-Draft Your Memoir in 45 Hours” is like having a chat with Rachael over tea and scones. She is motivating and inspiring. She encourages with a can-do attitude. She reveals what not to do, how to write your memoir even if you have forgotten details using the 80% rule, how to handle writing about family, and more. She informs about story arc, pivotal events, the six-word memoir, and more. Pick up a copy to learn tricks for writing memoir, including the “and more” tips for writing about slices of your life

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Smith

    If you want to write, as I do, this book is like having a really great friend right next to you who can actually help you get words on a page. Many reviewers say they loved this book even though they weren't planning on writing a memoir. I know exactly what they mean. Others said it inspired them to write a memoir even if they weren't planning to, and I know exactly what they mean by that, too. I'm far past the age where I'd ever hope to make a career of writing, but that doesn't mean I don't wa If you want to write, as I do, this book is like having a really great friend right next to you who can actually help you get words on a page. Many reviewers say they loved this book even though they weren't planning on writing a memoir. I know exactly what they mean. Others said it inspired them to write a memoir even if they weren't planning to, and I know exactly what they mean by that, too. I'm far past the age where I'd ever hope to make a career of writing, but that doesn't mean I don't want to write, and learn to write well. A memoir is a really great way to practice. Thanks for pointing me in this direction, Rachael Herron.

  23. 5 out of 5

    T.D. Walker

    As a fan of Rachael Herron's writing podcasts, I bought Fast Draft Your Memoir despite the fact that I don't write in the genre. The advice on crafting story in the book can be generalized to fiction and, surprisingly, poetry. Ages ago, I stopped writing personal poetry probably for the same reason most writers would be hesitant to write memoir. Herron's advice on writing from life can be applied to poets working in the personal mode who share the concerns of memoirists. The warmth, wit, and wis As a fan of Rachael Herron's writing podcasts, I bought Fast Draft Your Memoir despite the fact that I don't write in the genre. The advice on crafting story in the book can be generalized to fiction and, surprisingly, poetry. Ages ago, I stopped writing personal poetry probably for the same reason most writers would be hesitant to write memoir. Herron's advice on writing from life can be applied to poets working in the personal mode who share the concerns of memoirists. The warmth, wit, and wisdom in Herron's voice in her podcasts translates well to the page. Highly recommended for writers of any genre that includes putting the personal on the page.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Because I am taking another memoir writing class and I follow directions as a diligent student, I read this book before beginning the class. The organization of this book and the recommendations make it accessible and practical. Distilling your life in six words (Ernest Hemingway's idea years before), using this as a springboard, was just one of the ideas that intrigued me...even though I haven't done that yet. Dealing with the dark moments is another...haven't done that yet either. Getting star Because I am taking another memoir writing class and I follow directions as a diligent student, I read this book before beginning the class. The organization of this book and the recommendations make it accessible and practical. Distilling your life in six words (Ernest Hemingway's idea years before), using this as a springboard, was just one of the ideas that intrigued me...even though I haven't done that yet. Dealing with the dark moments is another...haven't done that yet either. Getting started, how to keep going, Herron provides much needed support to complete a memoir perhaps not in 45 hours but in a manageable way that made sense to me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Coughlin

    I have been reading and re-reading this in audio format, mainly focusing on the actionable chapters I first learned of Rachael Herron while searching for podcasts which could help me get writing again; in her podcasts and also in this book, she pushes the idea of getting a structure in place, then writing like mad until the story is fleshed out. The more I listen to this method, the more sense it makes to me. Rachael's energy, warmth, humor and candor make what could be dry material great fun. SHe I have been reading and re-reading this in audio format, mainly focusing on the actionable chapters I first learned of Rachael Herron while searching for podcasts which could help me get writing again; in her podcasts and also in this book, she pushes the idea of getting a structure in place, then writing like mad until the story is fleshed out. The more I listen to this method, the more sense it makes to me. Rachael's energy, warmth, humor and candor make what could be dry material great fun. SHe is encouraging and pushy in just the right ways. This book is no padding, all substance. For the first time, I feel like it's possible I might be able to finish my memoir.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    “You have to find the time, and it’s okay if you don’t. No one will miss your memoir not existing. But people might be changed by your memoir if you do write it.” I bought this book back in March, and I’ve been slowly working through it as I’ve been looking through the second draft of my second memoir. It’s been immensely helpful and encouraging to go through my draft figure out an outline, see the plot points, and plan an ending. I will absolutely be using it as a reference in my continued habi “You have to find the time, and it’s okay if you don’t. No one will miss your memoir not existing. But people might be changed by your memoir if you do write it.” I bought this book back in March, and I’ve been slowly working through it as I’ve been looking through the second draft of my second memoir. It’s been immensely helpful and encouraging to go through my draft figure out an outline, see the plot points, and plan an ending. I will absolutely be using it as a reference in my continued habit of memoir-writing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan Jane Anderson

    This handy book is well worth the cost since Rachael Herron teaches a course on writing memoir at Stanford and uses these same topics of instruction, developmental exercises, and specific strategies--and yes, that Stanford. There's plenty here for the experienced writer of fiction or creative nonfiction (I have a master's in professional writing and still found plenty of value.) It's also a treasure trove for the newbie writer. I'm literally going to use this book to outline my next WIP today an This handy book is well worth the cost since Rachael Herron teaches a course on writing memoir at Stanford and uses these same topics of instruction, developmental exercises, and specific strategies--and yes, that Stanford. There's plenty here for the experienced writer of fiction or creative nonfiction (I have a master's in professional writing and still found plenty of value.) It's also a treasure trove for the newbie writer. I'm literally going to use this book to outline my next WIP today and then start NaNoWriMo in a couple days--that's how much confidence I have in Herron's methods.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mindy

    Rachael has made memoir writing conceivable for anyone who dreams to write their story. I found her humorous, honest, companionable writing style easy to follow, and she made even the most challenging aspects of writing seem manageable. As a bonus, so many of her tips, recommendations, and exercises apply to all writing genres. Fast-Draft Your Memoir will be an easy-to-follow guide for all my writing projects, with Rachael as my encouraging coach. Onward! You can do this!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anne Scherliess

    This is the book every writer should read to finish their quest to write their book. It is aimed at creatives that wish to write their memoir, but there is so much wisdom about structure and revision, publishing and the writing process in it, that I think it is just what the doctor ordered for all Genres. Rachael is so clear and encouraging and her writing voice is so soothing and lighthearted that it is a joy to read this book and very reassuring for all us self-doubt-plagued scribblers.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie Schooler

    I have been dabbling in memoir writing and so needed this book. It is enthusiastic yet direct about what to do to get your memoir written... fast. Lots of tips and inspiration for a writer of any type of genre. This book has renewed my motivation to finish the next book, even though it is not memoir. Highly recommended for any writer and, of course, especially if you want to write a memoir (or two or three).

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