to find Patti Singleton these days.


Writer’s Journal; Synopsis and Chapter Titles for Memoir

Here’s the short synopsis and chapter titles that I promised you. Whew! Just in time for tomorrow’s start of Camp NaNoWriMo.

My Virtual Camp NaNoWriMo

My Virtual Camp NaNoWriMo

Draft of short SYNOPSIS for The Patient Patient Advocate

Memoir series, Souvenirs from My Heart, centers on debut author, Patti Hall’s, year long battle for her husband’s life. She chronicles Paul’s brave and humble struggle through Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant, and Graft Vs Host Disease. The first book in the series, The Patient Patient Advocate, bridges the topics of love and loss, from the other two books in the memoir series. This book offers sage advice for those who find themselves in the role of caregiver/advocate for someone they love. It is the story that the author and her husband worked on while he was hospitalized; the story Paul wanted her to finish. From diagnoses to hope to hospice, Hall grabs the reader by the hand and heart. She takes them with her along the couple’s unforgettable journey through the often frustrating healthcare system, with humor and heart wrenching honesty.

Draft of CHAPTER TITLES for The Patient Patient Advocate

*Our Story: Pre-diagnosis to Hospice

*The Bad News First…Hey, Where’s the Good News?

*Hospital Staff; Nothing Uniform About Them

*Patient Care: Body, Mind and Heart

*Camping Out In Hospitals; No S’mores Allowed

*Tools of the Trade; When A Hammer’s Not Enough

*Paperwork Jungle; Before, During and After

*What We Did For Love; A Closet Full of Hats

Okay, everyone, there it is. This is my pet project for the next 30 days in the virtual writing Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). One of my virtual buddies, Marie Bailey is a cabin mate, and our friend, Ellespeth (Liz) is signing up to be in our cabin too. Looks like the other roomies are four teen authors-to-be. Marie will have to be our leader, because she has done this before:>) Don’t tell her I said so. Wink Wink.

Notice that both items above are DRAFTS. That means I’m still open to community input, comments, questions and critiques. Jump in and tell me what you think.

Wish me luck,



Writer’s Journal; Memoir, Camp NaNoWriMo, and Writing Space

Preparation for writing the first book in my memoir series at the online Camp NaNoWriMo is moving along. So am I. A few months ago I downsized my writing space to make a room for company, and to ultimately, remodel the room when the damn rain stopped. With this month-long 1600-words-a-day challenge coming up in a week, I decided to return the room to it’s former use as my writing space. There’s just no comparison between the dark 3′ X 5′ area I was using and this heaven with 3 windows and about 8′ X 8′ of open space. I know, still a laughably small space, but I also know how to count my blessings where they hatch!

With the move out of the way, I now have the memoir series title, the titles of all three books, a draft of the synopsis of the first book, and working titles for all the chapters in that book. This is huge. Every step forward is worth a celebration in my mind, though. Being the wild loner that I am, I celebrate by writing you an update. I really need to calm the hell down.

I will post the synopsis and titles in the next few days, maybe even tonight if I have time. Meanwhile, I need to finish reading a friend’s preview copy of her book, and writing up my notes about it. I may get really nutty and do some laundry and house cleaning. Nah, I’ll give it another day. I have awesome priorities. I should write a book about them.

Here’s my pitiful plea for you to stop long enough to add a comment, and please…”like” me. Isn’t that pathetic?




A Million Ways to Mind Map; Channeling Gwen

Like many of us of writers, I have issues with focus. That is, I have writing ideas ticking in my brain constantly. In this current writeaholic mode, I even dream new blogs, articles, poems and stories. Most of the time I stumble right out of bed, pee, pour coffee and while it’s heating, I start up the computer.  I hit the writing at the pace of a runner at full speed.

As I wrote about before, I’m starting Camp NaNoWriMo in July, yet my memoir is still a file of almost 200k words, piles of writing not yet typed, and reams of papers from Paul’s hospital stays. Which direction do I head for? I know this memoir project will be a series, but where to start? When I think back to the beginnings of the memoir idea, I get two strong thoughts: The encouragement to write my story from many friends, family, writing instructors, and strangers. And Paul telling me that he wanted me to write about our year of fighting his leukemia, to help the many others who would (unfortunately) follow our path. He even promised to help from wherever he was; yes, this was a death-bed request. (Of course, I never fixed the chip in my windshield, and that too, was a death-bed request.)

Those thoughts (not the windshield ones) gave me a focus, but now what? Then it hit me square on and I began to channel one of my best friends. Gwen is a writing dynamo;  she is a dynamo in all sorts of ways, but her mind map talent was needed here.  This is the result:

Hand Written Memoir Mind Map

Hand Written Memoir Mind Map

Finally! Thank you, Gwen! I felt ready to actually write. The center was the memoir focus, the next circle is each chapter’s focus, and the outer circles will be the content of the chapters. It is amazing how fast things happen during and after the mind mapping process. I also want to give you techies a way to do the same thing online. Instead of rolling out a  list of links, I’m going to advise you to Google “mind maps” like I did, which will give you millions of mind map resources. Aren’t they pretty?

Screen Shot of Google Mind Maps

Screen Shot of Google Mind Maps

I resisted clicking on even one of those pretty things, because now I had a focus. Away I go. Stay tuned for the next step in this crazy process…

P.S. I do realize that someone could copy and steal my mind map and write their own book, but I promise that the universe will get them if they do. Besides, the hard part is ahead and if they are the type of person to steal my mind map, they aren’t likely to do the hard part.



How do you get your focus on a project? I’d love to know how others handle it, so please let me know in a comment.