Recap by attendee Lisa Cottrell
I had been looking forward to this session in particular, but Lisa Romeo’s Multiplication and Division: Writing about One Experience Across Multiple Pieces, was much more than I’d hoped it would be.
I’d seen Lisa on a panel last year, at HippoCamp 2015, and knew she was a pro, but the title of the session drew me in. Writing from my own experiences is a tricky area because of the sordid stories of my family from when I was little—and my unwillingness to share those honestly, openly, and fully—until I retire from teaching at a public high school. I know that if I take a certain angle, or a particular moment in time that doesn’t contain anything too illicit, there are some stories that I can tell in the meantime. I was hoping that Lisa’s session would help me to search for those angles and/or moments of my own, and I was not disappointed.
Lisa began by sharing her own “Root Sources,” the things she keeps writing about in her own life, which include stories, themes, experiences, and topics. She explained how to mine these root sources for ourselves and provided a formula for teasing out these separate stories (Generator: ROOT Source Material + Spinoff: Smaller Slice of the Larger Story + Payoff: Underlying *story*—speaks to universal human condition).
The examples of how Lisa used this formula in multiple ways to find publishing success in different literary venues was both informative and inspiring! Lisa also showed us how different types of writing could address the same topics or themes, and how to find other angles from which to approach your work. I especially appreciated her advice on using memory triggers and getting curious about what you CAN’T remember. Lisa summed up her main ideas on a PowerPoint presentation that she displayed and later shared with the HippoCamp website (view it here). I highly recommend downloading it yourself.
I can honestly say that this session was the one that gave me the most bang for my buck at HippoCamp 2016. Lisa’s methods helped me to think of new ideas and how to use them. I left the session with lots of “kindling” for my writing and a structure that I can go back to in order to search for more. In addition, Lisa generously offered to provide a PDF of a lesson from her website with each of the attendees of this session. All we had to do was provide an email address, and she shared a lesson of our choosing. There were several options, and I chose “Accessing and Working with Incomplete Memories,” which is a fantastic resource with excellent suggestions that I know will be helpful.
Thanks to Lisa Romeo for an extremely helpful and productive session!
You can find her here at: Lisa Romeo Writes