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Memoirs of the Soul: A Writing Guide

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Memoirs of the Soul: A Writing Guide gently leads writers from accessible subjects into the heart of meaningful experiences. This easy-to-follow process produces profound, polished memoirs. For both classrooms and individuals. Clear instructions, examples, writing tips. Memoirs of the Soul: A Writing Guide identifies subjects for chapters, prompts spontaneous writing, shows how to breathe life into your writing, and transforms your most significant experiences into compelling memoirs. Furthermore, you ll gain insights and appreciation of your inner life as you tell your story, a story that will be irrevocably lost unless written during your lifetime. This revised and updated second edition of Memoirs of the Soul: A Writing Guide contains new chapter material, an entire new chapter, and a forward by popular writing teacher Hal Zina Bennett. This edition has been completely redesigned in a larger format with layflat binding for ease of use while writing. Originally published by an imprint of Writer’s Digest, this book was highly recommended by the Library Journal. Memoirs of the Soul: A Writing Guide recently won first place in the 2012 Reader Views Literary Awards Writing/Publication category.


Highlighting the differences between autobiographical writing and memoir writing, Phifer urges amateur writers to write of the inner life, or times of joy or crisis or profound contentment. She offers a structured, well-organized process for writers to follow, which includes specific exercises, inspiring quotations, and examples of student work from her memoir-writing workshops. . . this how-to is highly recommended for all public libraries. —Library Journal, January 2002

Whether or not you are writing a memoir or fiction, the exercises in Memoirs of the Soul will challenge you to write with more depth, more sense of place, more feeling and will give your writing an emotional impact that it lacked before. –Sue Bronson, Writers NW, Winter Vol. 16, No. 4

Her carefully phrased prompts, instructions, and examples ask writers to begin at the surface of their existence and to burrow deeper and deeper into their hearts and minds. With each chapter, she challenges would-be memoirists to take another step inward, to inch closer to their own souls. In many ways, Phifer s book is like a deep-sea diving expedition or an archeological dig where the depth of the self is revealed layer by layer, league by league, chapter by chapter. –Professor W. KeithDuffy, The Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, An Affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English, Winter 2004-2005, Volume 10

“Many emerging memoirists have trouble getting to the core of their stories. Memoirs of the Soul will be forever on my recommended lists for them and for more advanced writers who simply need to be inspired.”—Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author and instructor, UCLA Extension Writers’ Program

“ . . . So what makes this book different from all those other books out there? This author focuses on the writer getting to know themselves- as she says the “inner” you. . . . Each chapter builds on the previous one and as you write you will find you have more than enough material to include. There are sections on proof-reading, rough drafts and having others read what you have written. Not only is this guide, “Memoirs of the Soul,” a tool for writing, it also is very therapeutic.”–Carol Hoyer, PhD, Reader Views

About the Author

Nan Phifer serves as an associate director of the Oregon Writing Project at the University of Oregon. In addition, she leads workshops for writers groups, religious organizations, academic conferences, libraries, and interfaith assemblies. Nan Phifer leads workshops in memoir writing that range from monthly sessions in Indianapolis to retreats in the Rocky Mountains to nationwide online teaching. She has helped everyone from high school dropouts to devoted pastors explore and share their spiritual labyrinths. She brings her impressive experiences and tested wisdom to this book, and offers even more descriptive exercises and rich examples in this second edition.

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