Review – A Different Kind of Fire

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In her debut novel, A Different Kind of Fire, Suanne Schafer weaves a compelling tale of a young woman’s struggle to become an artist. The story kept me cheering for Ruby Schmidt on every step of her journey from young love in rural Texas to art school in sophisticated 1890s Philadelphia.

Ruby loses everything dear to her in the process of leaving home, training as an artist, and having love affairs with a woman and a man. Page after page one wonders how she’ll overcome the high cost of following her dreams. It’s easy to identify with Ruby’s struggle to be true to considerable talents in spite of pregnancies and failed relationships. The book provided a fascinating glimpse of how times were different in the past and reminders that so many of life’s challenges for women haven’t changed that much in more than a hundred years.

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Fast Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours by Rachael Herron

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Rachael Herron’s new book Fast Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours gives an aspiring writer the feeling of having Rachael as a navigator on the road to finishing the first draft of a memoir. The essence lies in the way she teaches the writer how to write a fascinating book rather than a boring one.  Herron steers writers toward drafting an engaging memoir by either covering a specific passage of time in one’s life or by composing chapters based on a theme. She provides precise step-by-step instructions together with ample expressions of sincere confidence in the writer’s ability to follow her guidance.

Writers differ on the value of revising one’s work along the way or waiting until a first draft is completed. On this question, Herron is firmly in the camp of finishing a first draft before moving on to revise one’s work.

With the help of Herron’s advice, a person can stop careening across the writing highway, make forward progress between the lines, and successfully complete the first draft of a memoir. Now if only I can follow her advice.