Techniques For The Writer

Hello All,

This will be my last post on Maggie Thrash, hopefully, the constant posting about her page will have made one of you go and check it out (HERE). So I think I’ve come up with a list to help others who want to dabble in creative nonfiction from what I have seen from Maggie’s page.

1. Tell a Memorable Story

Stories, in general, have always had humans fascinated. I think stories are fundamental in our lives. A TV show is merely a story. Gossip to co-workers is merely a story. Telling a loved one how your day was is merely a story.

If you include things like examples, experiences, and comparisons then your story will be stronger and more relatable. Nonfiction is about relating, and Maggie does this.

2. Bait Your Audience

A great story grabs your attention right at the beginning and doesn’t let go until the end. Maggie uses certain strategies to do this. Honor Girl is a graphic memoir about her experience in summer camp. Pictures always get attention, and beginning with something that’s personal doesn’t hurt.

Or starting with an interesting or funny thought works. Maggie’s videos all start with something interesting like, “7th “Gay” Heaven.” Or her page catching my attention with the confessions. She makes you want to read further, or look further.

3. Use Emotional Language

More imagery, more emotion, and more personality. Words like “confession” or “surge” (which are both on Maggie’s page) are emotionally charged words that hit an audience strongly. Evoke vital emotions, and emotion will keep the reader’s eyes glued to every single word of yours. Make them feel your words.

4. Say it Simply

Short sentences and easily understandable vocabulary where your ideas can be broken down into detail. Shorter paragraphs with more white space, which is why the idea of a graphic memoir works.  I mean, you can impress your readers with the story rather than with the wording.

5. Surprise Your Reader

I find that I have a harder time reading nonfiction because it frequently reads predictably. But a memoir that is in graphic form is not predictable.  Maggie’s second novel, We Know It Was You, is about a suicide/murder. It’s a mystery.  As writers, we should be adding unexpected twists when we can. We should aim for keeping things interesting and fun for our readers. Maggie does this with her pure disregard for outside opinion.

Actually, I think these techniques work for fiction as well. It’s all about telling a story. What do you guys think?

“Nonfiction is never going to die.” -Tom Wolfe

XO,

-B

Is My Story Worth Sharing?

Readers,

I can’t remember the las time I posted so much! You know this assignment thing might be good for me. Also, discovering the handy tool that allows me to schedule posts has been a lifesaver. I’m not sure I would have made that discovery without posting on here so often due to the Maggie Thrash assignment.

I have gone through everything on Maggie’s page and since she doesn’t do the normal blog with new posts every so often, I am running out of content. She does do a newsletter instead but the page doesn’t tell me how frequently that comes.  Bummer.  I have been going back to her books page a lot though. Since I wanna be a published author and she is. I mean, even if it’s nonfiction content, it’s still YA. It makes me wonder if I have a story from my life that’s worth sharing.

Honor Girl is Maggie’s debut novel and it’s also a graphic memoir. All true, based on her life at fifteen, in photo form.  I like how that aspect is unique. I don’t see a lot of graphic memoir books around. Anyways, I went to Amazon (here) to check it out so that I could look inside the novel at a few of the pages and it’s like her comics page. Amazon’s site said there was only seventeen left in stock so it must be selling like hot cakes.  At four and a half stars, I can imagine. I guess she tells one hell of a nonfiction YA story. I might just have to order it.

“But with nonfiction, the task is very straightforward: Do the research, tell the story.”

-Laura Hillenbrand

XO,

-B

Podcasts Are Like Mondays

Morning Monday-ers,

Topic for today’s post: Podcasts. Opinions? Not for me. Again, the lack of captions and ability to see someone’s lips throw me off, however, Maggie does have a podcast page. I admit it. I couldn’t listen to them so I have no idea how great they are personally. BUT she does have a Twitter page for her podcast show, on top of her Twitter page for herself. 268 followers for her podcast “Creek Daze” is still pretty impressive.

As a side note, she has 891 followers on her personal Twitter, which I consider to be great. Her last post being a photo of a cat on fire wearing a shirt, and with a tiny man inside the pocket. The words on the photo say, “In the Pocket of The Animal on Fire… Whaddaya Gonna Do?!” Which is only made funnier by the photo’s caption that says, “When u clean yr room and unearth the greatest book you never wrote.” Check it out here.

Could this be another novel idea in the making?

“Ironically, in today’s marketplace successful nonfiction has to be unbelievable, while successful fiction must be believable.” -Jerry B. Jenkins

XO,

-B

Not a Fan of Pizza and Videos. Is That Weird?

Bloggers and Booklovers Alike,

I’m not a fan of videos. Hearing and videos just don’t mix so I tend to stray away from them. It’s nothing personal. Well, Miss Maggie Thrash has a video section on her site, and to do this assignment justice I feel I must view it.

I can put the entire page, consisting of fifteen videos, into one word: weird.  Which is a good thing since her target audience is young adults who all feel like they are the weird one out (like the odd man out, get it? Ha ha). Anyways, they have attractive titles like “Werewolves of London,” or “SENSUAL WORLD feat. Kate Bush,” or “Pizza Is Gay.” All of which feature Maggie Thrash herself dancing awkwardly to some oldies music, and holding things like pizza and sparklers. Most teens love pizza and sparklers, am I right?

It is a breath of fresh air to be able to see someone so completely self-aware that they have no care in the world of other people’s opinions of them. Kudos for that.

“Some people like you, some people don’t. In the end, you just have to be yourself.” -Andres Iniesta

XO,

-B

Eye-Catching Names and Social Platforms

Readers!

I checked out other social platforms of Maggie Thrash and I’m a tad surprised. A decent amount of followers on Instagram (1,519) are all watching as she posts selfies with her cat. In fact, her last post is of her wearing a Jonas Brothers t-shirt surrounded by a pink glitter background (here). It’s no wonder she is hitting the YA genre hard. Her mini bio states she is “the bad boy of YA lit” and a “Twihard lesbian.”  Her site lonercomics.com is practically a collection of doodles. Her last a story about her gas station PDA and strawberry milk.

I’m struck. My last Instagram post is a hedgehog surrounded by a pink background. I think YA lit is badass and I plan on writing for the genre. While I am not a lesbian, I do like Twilight. I also have a collection of doodle in my writing notebooks to go along with my thoughts. I’m typing this while drinking chocolate milk.

Alright, alright. It’s not directly related, but it is something worth mentioning.

Speaking of worth mentioning, I viewed more of the authors in the list. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Alison Bechdel both do more of a blog like mine Pots every so often in a scroll down fashion, and not nine sections to go through to get to the good stuff.  Kinda wish Maggie Thrash had more of this style. Or at least a page notched out for it. I want to know her thoughts about things. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Alison Bechdel could be cool. I mean their handle names are interesting.

Alison Bechdel- http://dykestowatchoutfor.com/blog

Ta-Nehisi Coates- http://absurdbeats.net

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” -Mark Twain

 

XO,

-B

 

 

Everyone’s Got A Secret

Good Morning Internet Populace,

You know what caught my attention about Maggie Thrash’s blog page? Her page appeal. The first thing you see is a comment box with the words, “What did you do?” and a blank space and a button that says, “summit your confession.”  Then, it’s posted. Right there underneath the confession box. Anonymous but still. The words are there. Out in the universe for the world to read. It’s calming, and scary, and awesome. It’s a way to promote her book, We Know It Was You, but it’s more than that.  She practically calls you out… or me, or any other person who visits her page. She’s asking for your inner secrets. She’s asking for your private self. She’s claiming every single person has their own secrets, and she is right.

That’s bold to me. I looked at other authors on the list. Raquel Cepeda (here) and Richard Gilbert (here) were so formal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they are great. They even have catchy titles that almost make me want to read like Gilberts’ “Punctuation & my pig tale.” But their pages were clean and sharp and sterile.  All the things I am not. All the things I shy away from for nonfiction. Both authors have books like Maggie, and layers like Maggie. But I don’t feel like I can relate to their content. Anyone remember that old saying about judging a book by its cover? Well, I’m guilty of it. But so are you. Everyone does it. Appearances matter, even if it’s only a fraction.

Maybe it’s the stage in my life. Maggie feels like she’s closer in reach, while others don’t even feel like me.  Maybe when I’m older or wiser the other authors’ pages will have more of an appeal to me. Or maybe not.

I decided to share one of my own secrets on Maggie’s page. The weight may not be gone, but it’s lifted. No one will ever know what I put, but I do. I told the world today. Maybe you can tell the world something too? Go here.

“Writing is writing, and stories are stories. Perhaps the only true genres are fiction and nonfiction. And even there, who can be sure?” -Tanith Lee

XO,

-B

Onion Layers Anyone?

Howdy Readers,

I decided to read Maggie Thrash’s short stories today (found here). Not 100% a requirement, but when in Rome, right? Besides, I suck at creative nonfiction, and she has some awards under her belt. A good reader makes for a good writer. Behold that this page took me to another page and to another. The story was there, but man, that’s a lot of layers. They even went to another site called Rookie where there were more stories like Maggie’s.

The first story I read was “Don’t Shout It Out” (here), which caught my attention with its swell first line, “I hate you. I want to kill you. Ha ha just kidding!” AND its interesting quote “NEVER EVER tell the truth about your feelings, because people will pretty much run for their lives.” You guys know how I like me some quotes. If you don’t, see the bottom of any of my post, including this one.

Anyways, “Don’t Shout It Out” was cute. I was there in the moment, and I could see what Maggie was describing. The tone and voice were even right on point for me. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but I do read a lot of young adult, and she had me interested. Next, I read “the Surge We Need” and the others. I was taken to another page each time. A new site even, but I felt like I was just peeling the layers back.

I checked out her novels again. Honor Girl is a coming of age story, and We Know It Was You is about teen suicide. Both relevant topics, both are YA lit, both are nonfiction. I mean, these are things we experience now. Things I’m experiencing now. Things she has gone through. Plus, these aren’t easy topics to write about or talk about. Sometimes, they are tear jerkers… I feel like maybe Maggie is showing me just how much I can relate to creative nonfiction. I thought I couldn’t. But I kinda feel like the more I go through Maggie’s blog, the more layers I’m peeling away from her. But also, the more layers I’m peeling away from defining creative nonfiction.

“All that non-fiction can do is answer questions. It’s fiction’s business to ask them.” -Richard Hughes

 

XO,

-B