One Story at a Time

Writing stories that matter! See my website at http://www.bethlamie.com

  • Anthology Book Launch for Harbor House

    Join us! Book Launch in support of Harbor House

    Monday, April 22, 6:30 PM
    KCC Iroquois Room
    Kankakee, IL

    Imprints of the Past was written by members of KBBW (Kankakee, Bradley & Bourbonnais Wordsmiths).

    Available on Amazon.com and WeavingDreamsPublishing.com.

  • Blue Skies and Apple Blossoms Available Now

    New book by local author Vern Ream: Blue Skies and Apple Blossoms. Delightful stories about growing up in south-central Pennsylvania near Amish country. Available now on www.amazon.com.

  • Blue Skies and Apple Blossoms by Vern Ream
    Here is a better image of Vern Ream's new book coming out this month. It's a delightful memoir of life on a Pennsylvania farm in a much simpler time.

    Congratulations, Vern!

    P. S. It will be available on Amazon.com shortly.

  • From a Stack of Stories to a Beautiful Book



    How do you take a stack of unrelated stories spanning some twenty years and create a cohesive book?
    My friend Vern approached me with just that question. He started writing after he retired and decided he wanted to write a book. With over sixty stories recalled from his childhood in Pennsylvania, he was off to a great start.
    Common themes ran throughout the stories, such as faith, family, friends, the farm, fishing, the future, and food—especially food. In fact, he mentioned his mother’s roast beef dinner multiple times. Not coincidentally, those topics made natural divisions into chapters for the book, filled with celebrations of humanity, caring, hope, gratitude, endurance, and respect.
    Because food played such a big part in the daily life of this young boy, I was delighted when Vern provided original recipes from his childhood.

    The next task consolidated related topics into chapters and then into the individual stories. This part of the process proved both exciting and challenging. Each of the heartwarming stories was edited and revised, sliced and diced, culled and expanded, reorganized and reworked, until the book felt right. With such a large variety of story lines, it became necessary to alternate uplifting tales with sad ones, heartbreak with courage, and discouragement with hope for the future.

    It was a pleasure delving into Vern’s stories and creating the book of his dreams.


  • APH Conference in St Louis
    Not too late to register for the annual APH Conference in St. Louis.



  • Memoir Writing Workshop - October

    Memoir Writing Workshop for new students and those continuing from
    previous classes.

    1. Discover and preserve your own memoir and family stories
    2. Use writing prompts, exercises, and sharing techniques to
    capture memories
    3. Learn to enjoy the process while you ferret out story ideas
    4. Organize your thoughts and experiences, or elicit stories
    from others
    5. Consider publishing options for stories or a book

    Please bring paper, a notebook or journal, and your favorite writing instrument.

    Start Date: Thursday, Oct. 04, 2012

    Location: The Center, 12700 Southwest Highway, Palos Park, IL 60464
    The Center
    Phone: 708-361-3650

    Presenter: Beth LaMie

  • 6-Word Memoir Exercise

    This exercise is to write a summary about your life (a.k.a., a mini-memoir) in just six words. You may want to give it a try from time to time to see what strikes you at the time. Have fun with it as you think about writing your own family stories and memoir.

    I'd love to see what you come up with in the Comments below!

    Here are some ideas to get you started:

    Spring renews me and my soul.

    Write. Revise. Rewrite. Revise again. Sigh.

    Fat. Thin. Fat. Thin. Fat. Thin.

    Every 20 years I reinvent myself.

    I dance daily, watched or not.

    I raised a United States Marine.

    Former Doc now wears art smock.

    Beth LaMie’s: Live. Laugh. Love. Thank God Above!

    Call to action: Now try your own 6-Word Memoir in the Comments area!


  • Meaningful Work in Madagascar
    This is a guest post from my friend, Robin Huffman, who is working as a volunteer in Madagascar.

    Hi there!
    I am remiss in getting an update of my African adventures to you. In the meantime, this link will give you a little flavor for it.... I'm volunteering at an environmental conservation research center in Madagascar called Centre Valbio.

    It's located at the Ranomafana national park, which is a rain forest claiming 12 species of lemurs (in addition to lots of other plants and critters that are found nowhere else in the world). The center and the formation of the park are the result of efforts by an American primatologist named Patricia Wright, and has become a center for many things besides science and biology research.

    For example, I went along today as they passed out almost 4 tons of rice to families in the local communities devastated by the recent cyclones. And yesterday we visited 3 women's handicrafts collaboratives for which I designed logos.

    Centre Valbio also, in conjunction with the US Embassy, is creating a music and arts program. One of the most popular young bands in Madagascar, Ambodrona, recently visited and filmed their latest music video here at the centre and the park. This is filmed right at where I am staying. It's very beautiful; their video will give you a sense of it....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQp47H6m0xI

    By the way, the young woman in the video is Miss Madagascar.

    Ambodrona is going to be doing a concert here at the centre on April 21, with up to a hundred people making the 9-hour trek from the capital city. I've just extended my visit here so I can attend the concert and help put together the event (in addition to assisting with the interiors of the new 4-story building under construction at the centre).

    Feel free to send the YouTube link to your friends!

    Robin
    www.peacefulportraits.com

  • Family Story Writing Tips

    Ready to write your own family stories or complete memoir? Think about using some of these writing tips as you go. As always, if you have any questions, please let me know. In addition, comments are always welcome!

    Basic Writing Guidelines
    Every writer uses roughly the same steps. Sometimes you may be able to combine steps. But stories will make more sense if you generally follow these basic writing guidelines.
    1. Brainstorming – write down a bunch of ideas.
    2. Rough Draft – get your ideas down on paper.
    3. Revisions – make the story flow.
    4. Editing – fine-tune the story.
    5. Publishing – print a copy of your story.
    Repeat any or all of the above steps until you are satisfied with the story.

    Story Structure
    The paragraph structure you use can also make a difference in the readability of your stories. Consider following these suggestions.
    1. Beginning Paragraph – introduction to the story.
    • Grab your reader’s attention & make the reader want to read more.
    2. Middle Paragraph(s) – details of the story.
    • Describe the person or event and what you or they experienced.
    3. Ending Paragraph – wrapping up the story.
    • Sum up why the person or event in the story is important to you.

    What’s in a story?
    Writing down your family history is an excellent way to turn memories into an engaging story. To fill out your story, consider using the questions that newspapers answer in their articles:
    1. Who?
    • Who was involved in the story you are telling?
    • Include details: When you describe who is in the story, your words come alive so your reader can imagine being right there, too.
    2. What?
    • What is the main event you’re describing?
    • Describe what happened in a sequence that gives shape to the story: what were you (or the main characters) doing when the story began? Go through the events to paint a complete picture of what happened.
    3. Where?
    • Where did the event happen? Give enough details so the reader can picture the setting.
    • What was the importance of the location to your story?
    4. When?
    • When did the story happen? Include details like what kind of cars people were driving and what clothes they wore.
    • Don’t assume your readers will know what the Midwest looked like in the 1950’s (or even last Christmas). Describe it in detail. When something happened may be as important as the event itself.
    5. Why?
    • Why was this story important to you or the person you interviewed?
    • What did you/they learn from it?
    • Explain what the experience meant to you or to your subject. Did it change the way you/they looked at things?

    Spice Up Your Writing
    • The power of words
    Think about how many memories are triggered by the five senses. You may have been on vacation and have some fond memories of the trip. But start remembering the taste of foods you ate, or the smells and sounds of the farmer’s market in the early morning, and you’ll be transported back so that every detail springs to life. Using the right words, you can make stories sound “good enough to eat.”
    • Juicy words
    Use juicy(!) words to make the story come alive! There is absolutely nothing wrong with using everyday adjectives like big or little. But sometimes you’ll want to stretch your imagination and come up with more stimulating words like humongous or teensy. Choose descriptive details to make them more interesting. Make each story pop for your readers. Think about the difference between a dull sentence and a juicy sentence in a book or story you like. Which would you rather read?
    • Using the five senses
    What do you think about when you smell the aroma of apple pie baking? Does it remind you of Grandma’s house? There are many words related to the five senses that will help you describe those memories and help your reader experience them, too. One easy way to describe things in more detail is to use the five senses for a kick-start.

    Sensory words relate to your five senses (smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing) and they can be used throughout your writing. They can be very powerful when you want to describe an event in detail. Remember that you want your readers to “see” (and hear, touch, etc.) what you are telling in words.

    Smells can take your readers to the heart of your story like a bloodhound to a rabbit hole. So, remember to consider your juicy words to describe what you smell. Something can smell spicy, yummy, delicious or even disgusting. Use your imagination to come up with your own words.

    Taste words are used every day to entice us. When you see an ad on TV or in a magazine, they often use words that make you think something will taste good, like “ice cold watermelon.” Have you ever walked along the ocean where you can taste the salty air on your tongue? If not, can you imagine how it would taste?

    Sight words are powerful tools to write a descriptive story. Use the sense of sight so people can envision or “see” what you are talking about. Use your imagination to help your reader envision being part of your story. Stories may be filled with bright colors, exotic images, minute details, and heart-stopping sunsets. Whatever the case, use sensory words to describe what you want others to see.

    Touch is unique for each person. Touch words are very powerful for recalling memories and conveying them in your writing. Sense of touch words may be soothing, comforting, scratchy, welcoming or even slimy.

    Hearing words allow you to use sounds and descriptions in your stories; they help your readers hear exactly what is going on. Think of the staccato slam of a door, the piercing wail of a siren and the sharp bark of a dog. Each of them describes a specific sound. Use descriptive words to sound the alarm for your readers.

  • 8 Scrapbook Journaling Tips

    What’s in a scrapbook story?

    Journaling in a scrapbook is an excellent way to turn memories into an engaging story that will last forever. To fill out your story, consider using the questions that newspapers answer in their articles:

    1. Who?
    • Who was involved in the event you are telling about? Be sure to provide first and last names of each person so you can remember them years later.
    • Include details: When you describe the people in your photos, your words come alive so your reader can imagine being right there, too.

    2. What?
    • What is the main event you’re describing?
    • Describe what happened in a sequence that gives shape to the story: what were you (or the main characters) doing in the pictures? Go through the events to paint a complete picture of what happened.
    • What did you like best about the event?

    3. Where?
    • Where did the event happen? Give enough details so the reader can picture the setting and share your excitement.
    • What was the importance of the location to your story?

    4. When?
    • When did the event happen? Include details like the time of year, the specific occasion, or which trip/vacation you are showing.
    • Don’t assume your readers will know (or you will remember) the timing of the event. Describe it in detail. When something happened may be as important as the event itself.

    5. Why?
    • Why was this event important to you?
    • What did you or others learn from it?
    • Explain what the experience meant to you. Did it change the way you/they looked at anything?

    Spice Up Your Writing

    6. The power of words
    Think about how many memories are triggered by the five senses. You may have been on vacation and have some fond memories of the trip. But start remembering the taste of foods you ate, or the smells and sounds of cooking breakfast over a campfire, and you’ll be transported back so that every detail springs to life. Using the right words, you can make stories sound “good enough to eat.”

    7. Juicy words
    Use juicy(!) words to make the story come alive! There is absolutely nothing wrong with using everyday adjectives like big or little. But sometimes you’ll want to stretch your imagination and come up with more stimulating words like humongous or teensy. Choose descriptive details to make them more interesting. Make each story pop for your readers. Think about the difference between a dull sentence and a juicy sentence in a book or story you like. Which would you rather read?

    8. Using the five senses
    What do you think about when you smell the aroma of apple pie baking? Does it remind you of Grandma’s house? There are many words related to the five senses that will help you describe those memories and help your reader experience them, too. One easy way to describe things in more detail is to use the five senses for a kick-start.

    Sensory words relate to your five senses (smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing) and they can be used throughout your writing. They can be very powerful when you want to describe an event in detail. Remember that you want your readers to “see” (and hear, touch, etc.) what you are telling in words.

    For more ideas on preserving your memories, check out my website, where you can sign up for a free monthly newsletter: www.bethlamie.com.