Episode 39 – Visitation Rights for Memoirs
June 30, 2012 Newbie Writers Podcast
Turning memories into stories.
Housekeeping: Call me Maybe idiot and baseball. Itunes issues abound!
In Episode 3 we discussed memoir’s in general, discussing if your life is interesting enough, do you use real names? Does anyone care?
I had a thought along those lines. What if you just want to write about an experience? Or capture something that is true in your past that can be used to good effect in a fictional work?
Where do you start?
Toys and games from your childhood. My favorite example of this is when we were kids, a popular game was Lawn darts. Big, pointed darts we hurled at a target set on the grass. Great fun, imagine when your little brother got in the way.
During my childhood, two plastic relief maps that hung in the hallway leading to my bedroom. One was a map of the US, the other was a map of the world. Stopped by often to trace our trip from California to South Dakota, fascinated that the black hills were these isolated little bumps in the center of essentially flat states.
I loved to examine the world map and imagine where I would go when I could finally grow up.
This is a small, isolated image, but one that can be used to launch a short story or launch a whole novel. Your memories and impressions can be used, stretched and manipulated into great fiction.
Damien your childhood stories have impact and gravitas, any one of the stories or scenes can start a novel or a short story, or you can expand on the scenes and create links to them.
Prompt: From Damien
Write your own Wikipedia entry. Describe yourself, your career, or what you want your career to be. Who do you want to be? Rock star, super star. Newbie Writers Wikipedia
Write your own
Bring out your dead: Guest Dead
Its Simon Dewar aka @herodfel.
The cacophonic sound roared again. A thousand church bells tolling to the sound of a million cracking bones. There was a sharp pain behind his eyes and a sudden gush of blood from his nose. Roiling around him in a tempestuous rosette a mass of water and blood howled in a cyclonic vortex, stinging his skin with the bite of its pressure.
Word of the Week.
It’s a silly-sounding word for a a foolish or stupid person.
Many writers have tried hard to find an origin for it, though most dictionaries play safe and list it as “origin unknown”. The good Dr Johnson, in his famous Dictionary of 1755, said it was from Latin non compos, as in the medical and legal phrase non compos mentis, not mentally competent. But as the Oxford English Dictionary commented 150 years later, this supposed origin doesn’t explain versions of the word that were around in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, such as nicompoop and nickumpoop. The first edition of the OED concluded that the word was simply a fanciful formation.
The late John Ciardi, in A Browser’s Dictionary, dismissively calls the OED’s idea “a clerk’s guess” and asserts that it comes instead from the Dutch phrase nicht om poep, meaning “the female relative of a fool”. He added, “And if that does not work out … I will be a monkey’s uncle”. Such a stretched derivation from a foreign language is typical of a type of folk etymology that turns up a lot. Though there was once an English verb poop, to fool or cheat, and it did come from Dutch poep, the original Dutch word meant a shit or a fart — the English slang poop for shit comes from this. The association with a fool came through a slang use of the word by the Dutch in the seventeenth century for a migrant worker from northern Germany. Modern Dutch speakers use nicht specifically for a niece, not just any female relative, but it is also slang for an effeminate homosexual. So nicht om poep might be construed with quite a different meaning.
A more intriguing idea, one with a fair level of acceptance that is given with some caution in the current revision of the OED, links it with the given name Nicodemus, especially the Pharisee of that name who questioned Christ so naively in the Gospel of St John. This word still exists in French as nicodème, a simpleton.