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Writer's Respite

Advice, tips and helpful hints to help you on your publishing journey.


Memoir comes from the French word for memory and is a genre of literature in which the author writes about their memories, usually going back to childhood. Unlike a biography or autobiography, it is not necessarily in chronological order and may often centre around a specific event in a person’s life, such as a particular tragedy or moment that changed the author’s life irrevocably. In this instance, the trajectory of the book may see the transformation of the author from victim to victor in what is known as a character’s arc. It may therefore read like a novel with an inciting moment that propels the author into having to become the hero of his or her own story, thereby surmounting various obstacles to reach the climax where the ultimate obstacle is overcome, and the denouement or resolution then follows. As a result, and just like a novel, there will be both inner and outer challenges with mounting tensions as the author digs deeper on their journey and ultimately finds the necessary skills to overcome the mounting strains, to become the hero of their own journey and thus story.

The older people become, the more likely the mind sifts the wheat from the chaff, leaving behind indelible memories which often contain certain clues to the most prescient parts of a person’s life. The exception in rare cases maybe where there has been significant trauma which can oftentimes eradicate memories altogether. All is not always lost, but the delicacy of such a journey may require professional input from say, a therapist or professional hypnotist trained in PTSD.

Important elements of a memoir are relativeness: is your journey one that people are able to relate to with their own life experiences? Authenticity: are you being yourself on the page and are you immersing the reader in the drama of your story rather than attempting to manipulate their perceptions with too much ‘tell’ over ‘show’? Again, these tools are regularly applied in fiction. If I tell you, ‘I waited in the heat for my husband to return’, the impression is far less than if I said, ‘A trickle of sweat ran along my spine as I stood waiting at the end of the drive. The air was so dry that my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and, when eventually I saw Bill’s car, it appeared in the distance like a hesitant and half-formed mirage on the tarmac. I hoped my lipstick hadn’t melted.’

As with fiction, God is in the detail and dramatisation is the best way of immersing the reader thoroughly into your world. The book also needs to ideally make the reader think, either in terms of relating the story to their own life, or to the world at large. The author needs to be therefore willing to be both authentic and vulnerable in their telling, so that if done well it can create an intimate and enduring relationship to the reader.

Finally, like good fiction, there needs to be a degree of conflict. Nobody wants to know about happy childhoods where cake baking mothers wheeled out perfectly prepared picnics. They need the grit in order to properly understand how the eventual pearl was fashioned and this comes back to the theme of your story. For that, you will need to pick a trajectory such as good versus evil, or that love prevails, or how courage and perseverance leads to success or redemption. Once you have decided the theme, the details can be added to the theme’s scaffolding and your hero’s journey can commence!

Cinematic writing is a narrative point of view to portray the experience of watching a movie and invoke the same emotions by reporting everything your characters do and say.

Cinematic writing is most commonly used in political dramas and thrillers, which is filled with lots of characters, multiple storylines being told simultaneously and big action scenes. Cinematic writing can also be used in novel writing as a tool to strengthen the story and help a string of scenes better flow together. You may find that more and more books are written this way, which is largely because of the modern age, as well as the heavy plots that need to outweigh competitors and prepare books to be converted into a television series or a movie.

The effect cinematic writing creates for the reader is much easier to follow along and move across different scenes within the story, without it being too confusing to understand.

Here are some top tips to help you get started with writing cinematically.

Consider the point of view you will be writing from

Considering the point of view you will be writing from will help tremendously in the direction of the scene and the important details you will need to note. For example, will the story be told from a third-person character, or will it be told in a first-person narrative? From what view will your character be physically when experiencing, and reacting to specific events? Picking your point of view will help you write in a cinematic style.


Cliffhangers are a key element of cinematic writing. Make sure you include cliffhangers in your story, to keep your readers on their toes and turning the pages. Not every scene has to be complete, from beginning to end. It’s perfectly okay to jump from one scene to another. At these points, see where you can work in cliffhangers, that not only tell the story but also show the story. This can be done using more descriptive language.


Set the mood and provide your readers with a visual image by taking time to describe the light in your scenes, for example, moonlit night sky, foggy and hazy morning, bright and sunny afternoon. This will help create the atmosphere for your readers, and create a good metaphor for certain elements, such as depression or happiness, and good or evil, just like you see in movies.


Music plays a huge role in movies and has the power to completely transform the mood of any scene. With the right music, you know what is going to happen before it does, because it tells a story, and contributes to the developments of certain characters and reinforces dramatic scenes. This is another key aspect of cinematic writing, and you can utilise this by describing what the reader would hear if it were a movie. You can do this by directing your character to turn on a playlist, singing, playing a musical instrument, or humming along to the car/superstore radio.

Writing cinematically is all about writing a narrative that creates an intense and detailed vision for your readers.

It's a valid question because books are one of the most popular forms of entertainment in our society. Children enjoy reading stories about their favorite characters and topics that interest them--and it seems like there is no end to the list of authors who want to share their accounts with kids. However, writing for children can be surprisingly tricky if you don't know what will capture your readers' attention and keep them engaged until the last page.

Know the age you're targeting

Although it's easy to think that writing for children is the same as writing for adults, there are some essential differences. First of all, you want your story to be appropriate and engaging for its intended age group--just like movies or video games come with ratings so parents can make sure they're suitable viewing (or playing) material. A second difference between adult and children's books is how you write them; younger kids often respond better to stories written in more simplistic language than their older counterparts because this style mimics how young people first learn to speak themselves. Maintaining a childlike voice also means using shorter sentences and paragraphs throughout--and avoiding complicated sentence structures whenever possible.

Don’t baby your audience

Although you should never forget that your audience is still a child, don't write as if they are one. Your goal shouldn’t be to oversimplify everything because kids can handle tough topics and complex ideas, too - they just need them presented in their way. One of the best ways to balance simplicity and complexity is by using detailed illustrations with your narrative words. This allows children who aren't yet reading on their own an opportunity to explore new concepts through pictures instead of having these details spoon-fed directly through text alone.

Create relatable characters

Kids love to see themselves in books, whether through a character who lives the same type of lifestyle they do or simply someone with easily identifiable traits. Another important aspect has an engaging plot that will keep them coming back again and again. It doesn't have to be anything too complicated, just something that speaks directly to their interests and passions as a child. For example, if children love reading about animals, then your book can revolve around these creatures--and you'll have plenty of opportunities to talk about different species throughout!

Focus on reading similar books yourself

If you want to write for children, start by reading as many of the top books in your target age range as possible. This will not only give you a better idea about what types of topics and characters kids are drawn to, but it'll also help improve your writing style overall because no one knows how to capture their attention like another author who has already done so successfully. Just remember that there is more than one way of doing things; some authors choose longer sentences with fewer words while others opt for shorter ones instead--just make sure whatever method you use comes across naturally without sounding forced or awkward!

Writing for children can be a rewarding experience--and one that gives you the chance to share your stories with an audience who might not have been able to appreciate them otherwise. Just remember these tips and tricks, so you know how best to engage young readers from start to finish!

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