Top-Five Tools for Suspense in Creative Nonfiction


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Sometimes when working on a personal essay or memoir we flood the engine of our prose. We’re trying hard to be as authentic, accurate, and open as possible, and so include everything remotely significant, and the forward momentum stalls under the weight. In revision, techniques from the art of fiction can goad the pace.

Here are my Top-Five Secrets to Suspense Continue reading

Join Us and Add Suspense to Your Life Story

If you’re in the Tampa Bay area this Saturday morning and want an affordable way to jazz your memoir, jump in with us!

The Gloria Sirens

This Saturday I’m teaching a creative nonfiction workshop in which we’ll make our readers shiver.

Suspense has got to be the biggest challenge to my daily work as a memoirist, but writing suspenseful prose has also been the secret to my success. In fact, writing my essay “Turnpike Psycho,” which was named a Notable Best American Essay for 2015, taught me how much it pays to rely on my MFA training in Fiction. Gorgeous sentences dazzle, efficient paragraphs relieve, but nothing beats snaring your reader with a good tale.

Stories drawn from research and memory tend, by their very nature, to laze around, sprawling and fattening on every pithy fact you find, every telling tidbit you recall. It all seems important. After amassing so much bulk, you stand back and admire the heft of what you’ve wrought. There it stands. So many more pages than you ever thought you could produce!

Then you realize something crucial is missing. It’s just lying there…

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Tiffany’s on TV! Grand Central Lit Crawl

Support local authors! Downtown Saint Pete Saturday 4-8:30 July 16, 2016

The Gloria Sirens

With events like this literary pub crawl, Wordier tries “to engage new readers, people who wouldn’t typically go to a literary event, and show them there are local authors out there that they should be supporting, so we try to think outside the box and make things as ridiculous as possible.”

Click to see it for yourself! Click to see it for yourself!

This Saturday, July 16th, Saint Petersburg, from 4:00 – 8:30

  1. Queenshead Eurobar
  2. Old Key West Bar & Grille
  3. The Community Cafe
  4. The Sawgrass Tiki Bar and Tea House

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Stop. Look Up.

Wow–love these photos and the reminder: “Get your head out of that phone. Be the realest thing around. Stop and look up. This is your ‘one wild and precious life.’ Take it all in.’

The Gloria Sirens

You’re likely to be outdoors at this time of year sunning or maybe reading, maybe both.  Stop.  Look up.  Take off those reading glasses.  Take it all in.

IMG_0015 State Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, 2015.  Photo by Suzannah Gilman.

Or you’re on vacation, walking through crowds.  It’s hot, the cobblestones slow everyone down.  So stop.  Look up.  Be the one who takes it all in.

IMG_1883 Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, 2012.  Photo by Suzannah Gilman

Like a child, you love a boat ride.  You’re busy watching the shore.  But wait.  There’s more. Look up.  Take it all in.

IMG_4492 On the Thames, London, 2016.  Photo by Suzannah Gilman

Some things can best be seen only by looking up.  So when you stop to do that, is it cheating?  Who cares!  Look up.  Take it all in!

IMG_4869 The Eiffel Tower, Paris, 2016.  Photo by Suzannah Gilman

Hurry and look up.  Life passes by quickly,  and you can’t…

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A Young Lesbian’s Letter to Her Mother After the Orlando Massacre

The Gloria Sirens

Like many of us in the wake of the Orlando massacre, my daughter, a former patron and fan of the club, has been reeling and weeping. Her fear and sorrow only escalated when mutual friends share d with her the snapchat of an acquaintance, Amanda Alvear, a girl the same age, now listed among the 49 dead. The short video shows Amanda’s puzzled face on the dimly lit dance floor as shots pop in the background. Amid many thoughts, feelings, and memories, one in particular came back to my daughter, the day she came out to me and my reaction surprised both of us. Since then, I’ve quipped, “I always thought if my kid turned out gay I’d be cool about it.” 148410630_1b765f739b_oBut I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t angry, either; I wasn’t a jerk. But as her “mama bear,” the one protecting her all her precious life, I was afraid, because when she said, “Mom, I’m a lesbian,” I heard…

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Keep the Pulse

The Gloria Sirens

by Delaney Rose

A couple of years ago, when I was 23, I lived in Orlando for a year. I was mostly holed up in my apartment studying for my graduate degree or playing video games. When I did go out and socialize, it was a big deal. I chose my outfits and the places I went with friends carefully.

319634510_fa4f5fe4fb_o When I did go out and socialize, it was a big deal.

I wasn’t a huge fan of crowds or loud noises, but I had always wanted to go to a gay club and see what that scene was like. Once my friends introduced me to Pulse, I went there whenever I could. The colors were soft and bright, the music was good, the atmosphere was relaxed but still changed with fun energy, and the drinks were affordable with a friendly staff to serve them. Even an introvert could open up and have fun in…

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