Thursday, November 4, 2010

Writing a Memoir type of book by Diane Craver

We all have a story we want to tell. Maybe we have lost a parent or a loved one and realize we can’t wait any longer to tell our family story. I always had in the back of my mind to write a story about my father. Although I wanted my book to have the emotional honesty of a memoir, I decided to fictionalize it. My goal was to capture a time and place in my childhood based on a true incident in my life that saddened and shocked me. An image of my father’s secret was burned in my mind forever, so the following sentences are the first ones in A Christmas Gift. “It was 1957 when I saw something that I wasn’t meant to see. I have never forgotten this night because it had such an impact on me.”

To write your memoir vividly and well while using fiction techniques, you need to research your past. Before beginning your memoir, start jotting down your memories in a notebook or if you prefer, in a computer file. Give yourself plenty of time to think about your past. At first, I brainstormed about my father since I planned on the main focus to be on his “disability.” I also listed old playmates, neighbors, siblings, and my mother. Don’t forget yourself and what you were like at a younger age. The narrator of the story is Debby Reeves, and she is sixty years old in the prologue and epilogue of A Christmas Gift. The rest of the book takes place in 1957 when Debby is seven years old. I thoroughly enjoyed reliving past childhood experiences to add credibility to my story.

Go through old photo albums and scrapbooks to jog your memory. Maybe you have a cherished item from a parent that will stimulate you into remembering more. I have a tie of my father’s, which he wore during the time period I decided to use for my book. Maybe you have a piece of jewelry of your mother’s that has a special meaning. When you return to an earlier time, make notes about what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch in your memories. Write down brief descriptions so you can remember them while you write your memoir.

I have four siblings but in A Christmas Gift, Debby has three. Young Debby is a lot like I was at that age. I’m sure my family felt that I was a brat at times, but they always knew I wouldn’t lose my childlike deep faith in God. Just as Debby knows Jesus will help her daddy to finally accomplish what he wanted his whole life, I have never lost my faith. Even when a tragedy occurred early in my adult life, I knew God would turn it into a blessing. And He did. Also Debby’s career is one I would have chosen if circumstances would have been different, but it wasn’t the career God meant for me. Because I wanted to give my father the ending he deserved and didn’t get in real life, the ending is fictionalized.

My greatest reward comes from accomplishing my dream of having a book about my father published. I hope your journey to the past will be as rewarding as mine has been. In sharing your family story, you will be opening yourself up to a wonderful experience. In doing so, you will enrich many lives by deepening family bonds, and perhaps will touch others with your memoir.


When I first opened this story I felt like I was reading an autobiography. A woman tells a story of a Christmas years ago that she remembers fondly. Let me start by saying that while I am not usually a fan of first person…..I really, really, really like it.

There was something so powerful and real about the story and the characters. The way a little girl looks at her daddy with hero worship in her eyes is a wonderful thing. And oh how my heart broke right along with Debby’s on several occasions. I cried more than once during this story…in a good way though. It was that touching for me that I was moved to tears.

A wonderful story that will really touch your heart. I highly recommend it.

Diane Craver met her husband while teaching at an orphanage, and they married in 1975. While raising their six children in southwestern Ohio, Diane started writing nonfiction. Articles of Diane's have been published in Woman’s World Weekly, The Catholic Telegraph, Virtue, Down Syndrome Today,, and other publications. Later, she decided it would be a nice escape to write fiction.

Diane has published through a variety of houses, including, Samhain, Desert Breeze, Whimsical Publications, and Victory Tales Press. She writes fun and inspiring stories filled with memorable characters. Diane gives thanks to God daily for all her wonderful blessings.

Learn more about Diane and her books at and Diane has lots of fun prizes listed on her blog. By leaving a comment here, you’ll be entered in her two drawings! More details on Diane’s blog.


Diane Craver said...

Good Morning, Anne!

Thank you so much for hosting me on your lovely blog today. I'm happy to be here and looking forward to having a fun time.

Autumn Jordon said...

Wonderful story. This book will stay with you for years to come. Congrats, Diane on getting this story out there again.

Linda said...

Interesting way to write a memoir--with a little fiction added in. Your one sentence of 'seeing something I shouldn't have' has me so intrigued! I'd love to be added to your giveaway. Thank you.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Diane Craver said...


I still remember how quickly you bought The Christmas of 1957 and I've always valued your wonderful support and friendship. You've been a blessing. I'm so thankful to have this updated story published by Whimsical. It's longer with additions throughout the book and I added a part to the epilogue about Debby's career.

Diane Craver said...


I'm glad the sentence I shared intrigued you. :) Thank you for stopping by Anne's blog!

Destiny Booze, Novelist said...

So much of you went into this! This book must be so special to you, Diane. :)


Anne Patrick said...

Good morning ladies! Doesn't Diane's book sound awesome? I can't wait to read it! Thank you all for dropping by in support of Diane.


Miss Mae said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful, Diane, and what a tribute you've given your dad. It brings tears to my eyes!

Diane Craver said...

It's so nice to see another WP author here. ACG is very special to me and one of my favorite books I've written.

Diane Craver said...

Hi Miss Mae,

It brings tears to my eyes too. Even though it's an emotional read, it does have humorous scenes. There is a scene where Justin Reeves runs outside in his long johns because someone followed Gail home. Gail is the oldest daughter. And the belling is another fun scene.

Shawna Williams said...

Diane, this is so heartwarming! Thank you for sharing this story with us all.

Toni Noel said...

What a 'novel" approach to writing a memoir. I've written one for my children. I don't plan to ever submit it, too many of the people in it are still alive, and I didn't fictionalize anything.
Maybe someday I'll get the urge to do what you did. Thanks for these ideas.

Toni Noel

Nicole Zoltack said...

How heartwarming! Thanks for sharing, Diane, and I wish you the best of luck with your writing career! :)

Ann Lee Miller said...

This sounds like a great book!

Wendy said...

I like your blog. Thanks for the contest.

Diane Craver said...

Shawna, Toni, Nicole, Ann, & Wendy,

Thanks for all the great comments!

I needed to fictionalize some of the story to keep peace in the family. LOL

flchen1 said...

That's a lovely way to pay tribute to memorable times in one's own life, Diane! Thanks for sharing how you used your own life to inspire some beautiful fiction!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Gail Pallotta said...

This sounds like a book that will pull at your heartstrings. Congratulations on writing it!

Diane Craver said...

Thank you - I hope readers will enjoy A Christmas Gift!

Diane Craver said...

I'm glad you stopped by - thanks for your kind words.

Diane Craver said...

Today went by quickly. Reading all these comments was wonderful. Anne, thanks again for letting me share what I used in writing A Christmas Gift.

Everyone leaving a comment today is entered in my drawings twice for my Christmas blog contest. I'll post the winner on Nov. 14 on my blog and other places.

marybelle said...

I enjoyed the insight thank you.

Julia M. Reffner said...

I love Christmas stories. What a sweet story you shared here.


orelukjp0 said...

I love blog tours. I hope you have a very successful one. I know ill enjoy reading this unique story.

Diane Craver said...

What fun to see more comments here this morning. Hope everyone is having a great Sat.

Mary, Julia, and Orelukjp,
Thanks for your comments!

Dina said...

sorry to be late, had no time to visit anywhere yesteray,

Diane, sharing your inspiration was so nice, I truly enjoyed reading about it,

thank you

Diane Craver said...

You aren't too late. My drawing isn't until Nov. 14th. It's hard to find time to visit blogs - I know.

Thanks for stopping by! Take care.

Anne Patrick said...

Diane, you know you're welcome to drop by for a visit anytime!

I've enjoyed reading all the wonderful comments. Thanks everyone for your support of Diane and her new book. I'm so looking forward to reading it.


StephB said...

Awesome reviews, Diane. Research is so important. The passion you have for the story comes alive in your post. Thanks so much for sharing. I look forward to reading this one!


Diane Craver said...

I'd love to visit your blog again. It's always fun to be here. Thank you so much!

You're right - I am passionate about A Christmas Gift. :) Thanks for taking the time to visit. I appreciate it.

Laurean Brooks said...

Diane, my mind is whirling from your Dad's secret. What could it be? I like how you described the awe a little girl has for her father. This must have been heartwrenching to write. I can only imagine.

But, if a story doesn't reach inside you and tug out shrieks of pain and and bursts of joy, it's lacking.

I barely made it in, in time for the drawing. Put me down. I'd love to have a copy of this awesome book.

Diane Craver said...

Hi Laurie,
You made it in time for the drawing. :) I'll get all the names in and have my daughter draw for me tomorrow night. Plus I have a second one on Dec. 8th.

Thanks for visiting and commenting - I always enjoy reading your comments.