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Lisa Dale Norton
Lisa Dale Norton is an Author, Nonfiction Editor, and Freeland Book Editor. She lives in Santa Fe.

Lisa authored Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir and Hawk Flies Above: Journey to the Heart of the Sandhills, both published by St. Martin's Press. Her new book A Great Romance is forthcoming.

As a speaker and teacher, Lisa inspires audiences with her passion for the power of story. She has taught thousands about writing and the art of shaping narratives to influence the world.

Lisa has appeared on television and radio discussing the power of story. She is a specialist in memoir writing and the nonfiction narrative.

Entries by Lisa Dale Norton

Amazon the Monopoly: Getting Smart About Books

(5) Comments | Posted February 11, 2016 | 4:48 PM

Who amongst you has not anteed up for a book from Amazon? Admit it, even those of you who dream of publishing your own book have spent money at Amazon buying e-books or printed books for less than any competitor could afford to sell them.

This ability to undercut all...

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Back to School: Memoir or Autobiography?

(0) Comments | Posted August 11, 2015 | 8:30 PM

We Americans love Back to School--memories of a fresh school year complete with new shoes and unknown books. As adults, we love the renewal those memories signal.


Second only to New Years, Back To School excitement lays before us the possibility of pursuing...

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Finishing Your Memoir This Summer One Scene at a Time

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 10:32 PM

Everyone is writing a book, but only a few will finish their books, and only a select number will finish their memoir this summer. How will they do it?

1) By understanding a book is simply a series of scenes;
2) By understanding that summer is a definable block...

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Masters of Storytelling: American Idol and the Voice

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 12:14 PM

Caleb has been crowned the winner of American Idol, and Josh has taken the prize on The Voice. The producers of these shows are masters of storytelling and demonstrate just how powerful it is. The main story is the competition itself and...

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The Olympics and the Power of Stories for a Better Life

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 11:42 AM


The Olympics bring us far more than competition; they bring us stories, and from those stories, we have the chance to learn how to behave toward each other.

Although the Olympics is ostensibly about who wins and who doesn't, the vast...

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The Keystone XL Pipeline and the Sandhills of Nebraska

(17) Comments | Posted February 28, 2012 | 2:13 PM

Photo by Michael Forsberg

I know these Hills. I have moved among the people of the Sandhills for over 50 years, covered thousands of miles on back roads no more than sand ruts, investigated towns, traveled with ranchers into back country, and...

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Why Apprentice Writers Shouldn't Be Marketers

(24) Comments | Posted November 7, 2011 | 3:50 PM

"I'm doing my first Authorchat," I announced to my writing students in class the other day. They sat up straighter, leaned into their computers and typed. A hand shot up. "Is this something I should be doing?" Worried faces.

We had been talking about the role of the author as...

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Mecca for Women Writers

(5) Comments | Posted June 16, 2011 | 10:55 AM

"To be a person is to have a story to tell."

So said Isak Dinesen, pen name for the Danish writer Baroness Karen von Blixen. Dinesen gave us the deeply honest story of her life in Kenya during the last decades of the British Empire. You may remember Meryl Streep's...

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Memoirs About Love: A Reading List

(6) Comments | Posted February 13, 2011 | 9:44 PM

"You should write about love memoirs," a friend counseled.

It seemed a logical suggestion for the month of February, a time for romance and passion, so I began perusing my shelves of memoir, querying friends and browsing library and bookstore stacks. Finally I took to surfing the internet in what...

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Ten Steps to Writing Your Memoir in 2011

(31) Comments | Posted January 21, 2011 | 4:31 PM

You all dream of writing a story about your life and getting it published. I know you do. So what better time to make that dream come true than now, the start of the new year. You've examined your life. You've vowed to change it. Writing your story will do...

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The New Muckrakers: Can Celebrity Gossip Outlets Fill in for our Failing Newspapers?

(9) Comments | Posted March 16, 2009 | 11:27 AM

It is ironic that Hearst newspapers are some of the first going out of business these days since it was in early Hearst publications that investigative journalism first found its voice, and it is in this very voice that our ailing press may yet find salvation.


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Rush Limbaugh, The GOP and Their Story of Fear

(11) Comments | Posted March 7, 2009 | 12:13 PM

I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with obstructionist politics. Oh I know, the Republicans have an ideology to uphold. You can tell me I don't understand the intricacies of the political system, and you might be right, but as an author and story expert I do...

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What Really Matters?

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2009 | 3:36 PM

Now is the time to figure out what really matters. Is it home? Family? Love? Many people seem to think so. I certainly have been searching inside myself, in these surprising times, and inside the writers' stories I edit for a deeper heart of meaning.

That's why I watched with...

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Governing Anew: Obama Reclaims The Honest Moment

(1) Comments | Posted February 7, 2009 | 8:28 PM

There are those little shifts that happen in our day-to-day lives, so simple that we fail to grasp the cataclysmic effect they represent in our universe. I'm still reeling from one of these that happened last week.

It was a simple gesture. President Obama turned to the American audience and...

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You Couldn't Write Better Fiction, But Just What is the Story of These Times?

(5) Comments | Posted October 24, 2008 | 4:21 PM

I was shaking my head while watching Sarah Silverman's Great Schlep video where Ms. Silverman asks Jewish kids to fly to Florida and convince their grand parents to vote for Obama and mumbling this question: So, you've been cursed with living in interesting times; what's your story?

Silverman even...

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The Summer Squawk About Memoir

(1) Comments | Posted July 29, 2008 | 3:41 PM

You've probably seen it, Oprah's feast of memoir in the August issue of O magazine, a seventeen-page spread devoted to reading real-life stories. And if, like me, you're over 50, you also might have seen Abigail Thomas' piece about how to actually write this mysterious thing called memoir in O...

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Sex and the Story

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2008 | 2:07 PM

Yesterday, when I went to the local movie theatre for an afternoon matinee of Sex and the City a reporter approached me wanting to know why I came to the movies. Why, given the high price of gas and comestibles, were movies still a priority in my life? Well, beyond...

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Potluck and Politics: The Stories People Tell as Summer Dawns

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2008 | 12:24 PM

An eclectic group of writers, painters, musicians and actors gathered yesterday in Santa Fe to celebrate the Solstice and the arrival of summer. The food and company were great. The stories were better.

I had never thought about a summer gathering of artists where the stories would be all about...

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Story is Everything

(10) Comments | Posted June 10, 2008 | 6:59 PM

Hillary Clinton is shifting the paradigm and the narrative. Because the story is everything in the culture of politics, these are important shifts to note.

Hillary, a woman who has broken barriers many women never dreamed could be approached, has a new story and it is a powerful, wise and...

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In Defense of James Frey and Memoir

(8) Comments | Posted May 30, 2008 | 1:46 PM

As a writer and teacher of memoir I am bombarded by moderately-informed people spitting out the name James Frey whenever the topic of memoir comes up, eyebrows raised, fire on their tongues. It's true Frey's debacle made headlines, yet there are many misconceptions about what he did or did not...

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