Slices of Life
by Cheryl Butler Stahle

Ten Keys Publishing, 2012. ISBN 978-0-983-44281-3.
Reviewed by Sharon Lippincott
Posted on 08/28/2012

Nonfiction: Creative Life; Nonfiction: Arts/Crafts

Cheryl Stahle's conversational writing style in Slices of Life makes me feel as if she is sitting across the table at Panera, explaining the whys and wherefores of a memoir writing project. She breaks the process into bite-sized chunks, introducing a few concepts at a time. Several simple, sometimes quirky, and surprisingly deep writing prompts follow each section, further softened and embellished with delightful hand-drawn graphics. None of the exercises take more than a few minutes to complete—unless you become intrigued and keep writing.

Although this book does not go into depth on any topic, Stahle does a thorough job of covering the basics in this compact space. Her hand-drawn illustrations warm the text and diagrams and tips add impact to the text. The format of tables and tips is slightly clunky in the eBook version, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for the convenience of the eBook.

She moves smoothly from reasons to write through organization and basic writing skills to tips on self-publishing your completed memoir, for one reader or the world. The writing prompts—ten minute "sprints" and three minute "dashes"—seem so simple and manageable that you may not realize you are writing short vignettes all along as you work your way through the book. By the time you get to the section on writing skills, you may be surprised to discover that you've already written a pile of stories, ten minutes at a time.

The primary strength of the book is the imaginative, provocative exercises which would work equally well as journaling prompts. Even if you have no interest in writing a memoir, working through the exercises in the book is guaranteed to deliver fresh new perspectives on your life.

Cheryl Stahle, founder of Your Best Writing Group, is a long-time writer and editor. Having published memoirs in Adoptions Today, Single Parenting and an anthology entitled And the Wind Was No Longer Cold, Cheryl specializes in finding the tiny gems of life and polishing them into vibrant stories. Cheryl's writing has also appeared in the Montgomery County Times Herald and she is a regular contributor to Writers Get Together and is a featured author for Bucks Happenings Hometown Hero column.

(See another review of this book, here)

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