image: header
Home | About | Contact | Editing Services | Resources | Workshops | Mythic Impact Blog | Sowing Light Seeds

“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Journal With Impact: Memoir Vignette Voices

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“We tend to think of voice as something we hear; it can be squeaky or mellow, loud or soft. But in writing, voice is what we hear in our head: the medium.”    
                                                                                                                             Barbara Drake

These excerpts are a character study to capture voice. Whereas in fiction or memoir we have the luxury of developing characterization over a long period of time, there are sometimes where we only have a brief sentence or paragraph to highlight a particular characteristic, especially in secondary characters or for a moment’s insight into a situation. Also our style of characterization needs to be true to the character. We find our voice—yes—but it is experienced through the character themselves.

As you continue to build your material, working with vignettes will help focus the voice you choose and the key perspective. For example, if sharing from your own personal voice is too raw or complicated to see through, then use a fictional format to give yourself some separation. The main character is still you, but by sharing as a third person narrator you can be more objective alongside sharing your heart.

The following are three different approaches to discovering the significance and value in relationships and experiences: as fiction, as interviews, and as memory. Watch for which words or emotions you respond to, or are curious about.


“The Hero and the Crown,” by Robin McKinley

“Katah was not the only one that the passing of time did not heal. Galanna’s hair had gone grey during the first winter, and was white by the time the second spring after the battle came. She was quieter, and slower, and while she looked with no love upon Damar’s new queen, she caused, and wished to cause, no more trouble.

Non-Fiction Memoir

“What She Couldn’t Tell,” by Patricia Hampl

“I took her to Mass now and again. I got in the habit of taking her grocery shopping. She was a wily shopper, her purse bulging with carefully scissored newspaper coupons which she paid out at the checkout counter like a stack of chips at a casino. She was gleeful about her strategic buying, by turns petulant over the price of peaches and contemptuous of what the supermarket thought she would pay for a cut-up chicken. Ha! She’d cut up her own chicken. I drove her all over town, stalking deals, running up mileage on my mother’s car.”


poem on my fortieth birthday to my mother who died young
by lucille Clifton

well i have almost come to the place where you fell
tripping over a wire at the forty-fourth lap
and I have decided to keep running,
head up, body attentive, fingers
aimed at darts like first prize, so
I might not even watch out for the thin thing
Grabbing toward my ankles but
i’m trying for the long one mama,
running like hell and if I fall
i fall.

What differences, if any, do you notice between these three genres in the way a character is portrayed? Which one most appeals to you as a voice or style?
Over the next few blogs we’ll look at each style separately so you can choose your narrator’s voice.

Action Steps:

Choose one or two people either from your own experience, or from photos, for a verbal vignette snapshot.

1. Write each of them up in three ways. A) As a brief line description. B) As a non-fiction description memoir style. C) And as a fictional character in a brief scene.

2. Take one of your descriptions and rewrite it as a poem.

3. Examine what differences you discovered in tone of voice between the examples.

Share: Which style connected the most to the voice you identify with in your memories?

Read deep, marcy

No comments:

Post a Comment

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
image: footer