Memoir Writing from Diary to Publishable Piece

Author Jeff Rasley
Author Jeff Rasley

Most writers have kept a journal or diary during some period in their lives. I started a diary when I was sixteen. After two weeks burned the document out of fear my parents might find it — too much incriminating evidence. I didn’t take up journal writing again until I hitchhiked from Indiana to Florida and then to New Orleans for Mardi Gras at age 18.

For a small town Hoosier kid, some of the characters I met on the road amazed and moved me. There was the back woods Tennessean couple who lived off shooting squirrels and rabbits. Their car was a rim racking old Chevy with the seats torn out so we sat on bare metal. They picked me up because they needed gas money. We had a good ride and conversation on the $3 I could spare. And there was the night I spent at the house of the daughter of the Town Constable of Pleasureville, KY.

Anyway, my first great adventure on my own moved me to keep a journal. As my appetite for adventure travel increased and took me to even more exotic places than Pleasureville, KY, I thought others might find some benefit in reading what I learned from the adventures. But, real meaning would not come through a mere recording of events. The serious memoir writer must interpret meaning from one’s own experiences, but meaning beyond the immediacy of the moment. I would record in my journal the facts of a travel experience and my reaction to it. To turn the journal writing into a worthy article or book there had to be an insight, lesson or wisdom which I could offer to others. Continue reading “Memoir Writing from Diary to Publishable Piece”

Oz Fiction Contest

Prose story submissions are invited for the 2012 Fred Otto Prize for Oz Fiction. “Oz Fiction” is defined as any story about or pertaining to the Land of Oz as originally created by author L. Frank Baum in the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels, but stories need not be confined to Baum’s vision.

Cash prizes are: $100 First Prize, $50 Second Prize.

Deadline is June 30, 2012.

For more information, please visit their website.

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Indies Unlimited is pleased to provide this contest information for the convenience of our readers. We do not, however, endorse this or any contest/competition. Entrants should always research a competition prior to entering.[subscribe2]

About Commitment — A Writing Proposal

When I was invited to become part of the Indies Unlimited staff and write an article every month, I felt surprised and delighted and honored. Then I wanted to vomit. I’m not good with commitment. I tell myself that I like writing too much to be obligated to it, so we’ve just been cohabitating. I write whatever I want to, whenever I feel like it — or not — no pressure.

We have had our periods of exclusivity, and I’ll admit that I used to swing dance every Friday and Saturday night but now I mostly write. Yet the choices leading to now have been more about the moment or an alternative than a decision to make writing a priority. I’d rather research an essay than dance this Friday. I’d rather edit stories than watch TV on Tuesdays. I’d rather work on character development than cook — ever. There were some big concessions, but I never fully committed. Okay, I’ll write a book, but I’m not promising to let anyone read it. Okay, I’ll publish it, but I’m not going to tell my friends about it. Okay, I’ll start a second novel, but if it frustrates me so much I cry, I swear I’ll put it in a drawer and not think twice about it; I can’t handle that kind of drama in my life.

Recently, writing and I have been in a good place. I want to write every week. The stories are humming along, I’m getting ready to publish again, and my next novel is beyond the throw-it-out-the-window stage. For crying out loud, we were in Vegas on vacation and the thing I most wanted to do was write (by the pool and in between concerts, but still…). Isn’t that enough? Why did this proposal have to come now? Continue reading “About Commitment — A Writing Proposal”

Krista Tibbs Joins the Staff of Indies Unlimited

Author Photo - Krista Tibbs
Author Krista Tibbs

Going down the checklist of my burgeoning army of evil minion special skills the other day, I noticed a few boxes remained unchecked. Among those skills still required were neuroscience and swing dancing. I know, you’re thinking neuroscience and swing dancing? Let me assure you that even something as seemingly ordinary as neuroscience can be useful under the right circumstances to an evil mastermind.

Along comes Krista Tibbs, and without boring you with the details of who slipped what into whose drink, I am pleased to announce we have added Krista to the team here at Indies Unlimited.

Krista Tibbs was on her way to a writing career when she published her first story about somersaults then landed a weekly newspaper article, “Junior Hi-Lites”. She was derailed by studying neuroscience at MIT and spiraled into a decade of clinical research and a swing dance habit. After rehabilitation through business school, her writing hit a fever pitch with such critically acclaimed projects as “Performance and Management Assessments” for the Federal Budget and “Return on Investment Report”.

Krista kept her fiction stories secret for years until publishing her first novel, The Neurology of Angels, which earned an honorable mention in the DIY Book Festival. She is currently finishing a collaboration on an illustrated book of animals stories for grown-ups. You can read more from Krista on her blog,, where there might be math and science, but there will also be kittens.

Please give Krista a warm Indies Unlimited welcome.