Nobody loves a good story teller for being accurate.
That is the number one rule author Kathrin Lake always finds herself telling first-time writers of memoirs.
The facts have to be true, but everything else is simply one person’s perspective.
An example she gives is a wedding. When somebody gets married, a wedding takes place. But, what happened at that wedding is a perspective, a point of view.
“So every person you could interview at a wedding is going to say something entirely different about it, even when they are witnessing the exact same thing,” explained the award-winning playwright, screenwriter, non-fiction author and writing coach who will be part of the upcoming Golden Ears Writers and Readers Festival.
Lake will be hosting a workshop on writing memoirs called Memories to Memoirs.
What to embellish in a memoir will be one of the topics Lake will address .
She will also tackle how to begin a memoir and how to focus one’s thoughts to create a good story.
Lake finds that people who decide to write a memoirs usually have an interesting story to tell or an interesting aspect of their life they want to share. Or they simply want to pass along stories to their family and friends and the future generations.
Writing a memoir can be overwhelming.
“The biggest thing is figuring out how you are going to structure it and what is your theme. And also what is what I call the through line. What is the ongoing story,” asked Lake.
“People can write a lot of stuff before they actually discover what the theme is when doing this,” she said adding that she hopes her workshop can help writers structure the vastness of their lives into a story that other people are going to read and be inspired in some way.
Lake just finished her own memoir, called The Happy Hammock, whichis currently going through the Kindle Scout, a process where readers decide if a never before published book gets published.
She didn’t intend to write a memoir at first, but after writing a series of short stories about her wacky adventures with her husband in Mexico, she decided to string the stories together and document the entire experience.
On her first trip to Mexico with her husband, Lake put an offer on a house, impulsively, after only three days of being there.
“We thought we were buying a house, but we weren’t actually buying a house. So, it’s all the story of what we went through in Mexico,” she explained about the through-line of her own memoir.
“But we kept on going back and we fell in love with the town and characters,” she continued.
However, that can be the most difficult thing about writing a memoir, Lake added, is writing about people who are still alive. First-time writers are often terrified of what these people are going to think and of possible legal ramifications.
And that is where perspective comes into play.
“We will talk about that. How much of what you put into that book needs to be true and how much needs to be capturing the essence of what you went through, the experience,” said Lake.
Her own memoir changed her world view.
“It really changed me as a human being and I really had to think about that,” she said, adding that everybody has a great story in them, be it an interesting career or hobby or experience in life.
If Lake can give them a nudge and some encouragement then she has happily done her job.
The inaugural Golden Ears Writers and Readers Festival takes place fro 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 at The ACT Arts Centre, 11944 Haney Place in Maple Ridge.
In addition to Lake’s workshop, Vancouver romance writer Michele Fogal, author of West Coast Boys, a book duo, will be conducting a workshop called Skeleton Keys, on the tools and tricks for finishing a challenging story.
Maple Ridge science fiction, gothic horror and steampumk author K.T. Wagner will be offering ideas on growing a writing career through short stories.
There will be manuscript evaluations for those interested in having a peer review of their written work.
Workshops, evaluations and lobby events are free. Bring a lunch for the entertainment.
Other Lower Mainland authors will also be on-hand in The ACT lobby to chat and sell their books.
At 1:45 p.m. there will be The Great Canadian Author Tea, a lively discussion about favourite Canadian authors over afternoon tea. Tickets for this event are $5.
To purchase tickets go to theactmapleridge.org.
The writers festival is part of Canada Culture Days and Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.