Literary Citizen of the Year Allison K Williams joins Let’s Talk Memoir for a conversation about the importance of plot, structure, and dramatic arc in memoir, the elements that make a story a story, insuring your memoir has a reader takeaway, what being in the circus taught her about writing, why she calls herself the unkind editor, and how she really feels about memoir.
Also in this episode:
-Allison’s editor origin story
-what being a “real” writer actually means
-tips for working with an editor
Books mentioned in this episode:
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
To Hell by Dinty W. Moore
Broken in the Best Possible Way by Jenny Lawson
The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova
Allison K Williams is the author of Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book. She has edited and coached writers to deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, St. Martin’s and independent presses. She’s guided essayists to publication in the New Yorker, Time, the Guardian, the New York Times, McSweeney’s and TED Talks. As Social Media Editor for Brevity, she inspires thousands of writers with blogs on craft and the writing life.
A former circus performer, Allison has written for NPR, CBC, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Creative Nonfiction, McSweeney’s, Kenyon Review Online and Travelers’ Tales. Her plays, including Mark Twain Award winner Hamlette and London Fringe Best of Fringe Winner TRUE STORY, have been produced worldwide.
Connect with Allison:
Ronit Plank is a writer, teacher, and editor whose work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Writer’s Digest, The Rumpus, American Literary Review, Hippocampus, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. Her memoir WHEN SHE COMES BACK about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation was named a 2021 Best True Crime Book by Book Riot and was a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards, the Housatonic Book Awards, and the Book of the Year Awards. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, the Best of the Net, and the Best Microfiction Anthology, and her short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE won Hidden River Arts’ Eludia Award. She is creative nonfiction editor at The Citron Review and lives in Seattle with her family where she is working on her next book.
More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com
More about WHEN SHE COMES BACK, a memoir: https://ronitplank.com/book/
Connect with Ronit:
Background photo: Canva
Headshot photo credit: Sarah Anne Photography
Theme music: Isaac Joel, Dead Moll’s Fingers