Your Life as Writing Guide in Sepetys' 'You: The Story'

Your Life as Writing Guide in Sepetys’ ‘You: The Story’

Note: Ruta Sepetys will discuss her book ‘You: The Story' in conversation with Katie McDougall, Co-Founder and Co-Director of The Porch on Saturday, July 15 at 10:30 a.m. at the Museum as part of the TN Writers | TN Stories: Author Talks at the State Museum series, presented in partnership with Humanities Tennessee, Chapter 16 and Vanderbilt University Press. All events include an opportunity to purchase books through the Museum store and get them signed by the author. If you show your Eventbrite ticket, you will receive a 10% discount on your book purchase. By Sarah Norris for Ruta Sepetys' latest book, You: The Story , is a writer's guide to mining one's life for material. Sepetys is, of course, the award-winning, bestselling author of five works of historical for young adult readers, and her approach to craft is form-bending, cogent, saturated with glimmering personal vignettes, and unfailingly encouraging. Neither hatchet woman nor bleeding-heart sentimentalist, Nashville-based Sepetys offers exacting technical prompts for novice as well as experienced writers, while maintaining both levity and a sense of moral stakes. “Whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction,” Sepetys writes, “the secret to strong writing is embedded within your own experience.” She points to heartbreak, hope, hilarity, and humiliation as essential instruments in a writer's toolkit and advises, “If you infuse those elements into your writing, it will feel authentic.” Ruta Sepetys Sepetys gives advice on all the major aspects of storytelling: plot, character, voice and , perspective, , research, and revision. Each of these sections utilizes mini-chapters, comprised of short paragraphs covering both the importance of the particular element and suggestions for application. Sepetys makes frequent use of repetition; for example, she recurrently avers, “Specificity is authenticity.” Her repetition drives home her messages and underscores the consistency of her insights and approach. Each topic closes with a one-page recap of what's been covered, as well as a detailed list of related writing prompts and a handful of book recommendations. Here again, repetition plays a major role, in part because some of the suggested exercises build on earlier ones. In the […]

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