CON T d . b y An n Dows e t t J o h n s t o n

Part One is your rock-bottom moment—often what we call the inciting incident. Here is where you will introduce the characters, the conflict and or the problem you were facing. Part Two relates to the time when you began to find your solution to that behavior, in which you explore the challenges. Part Three: you resolve your story, showing change and growth, character development, resolving the problem and answering any unanswered questions. My advice: think about your rock bottom moment. This will prove to be the firm foundation of how you build your story. I have three gradually more ugly images that I included in my book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. This gave a full picture of how my alcoholism progressed.

Ann Dowsett Johnston is the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. Now a psychotherapist, she also teaches her online memoir-writing course Writing Your Recovery, which starts on Sept. 27. Go to anndowsettjohnston.com, and register under Workshops on the site.

Now, I want you to think about your solution, your recovery, and how you got there.

Finally, I want to share my overarching encouragement to use your best stuff. I once asked the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Carol Shields if she saved stories for future books, and she said never. Spend whatever you have in your pocket. The truth is: if you spend it, more will appear.

Writing is one of life’s great adventures. I wish you all great pleasure in the process.

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