NC Literary Hall of Fame




The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript: Turning Life's Wounds into the Gift of Literary Fiction, Memoir, or Poetry by Zelda Lockhart

LaVenson Press Studios
$25.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-0-978910266
March, 2017
Nonfiction: Self-Help / Art Therapy
Available from your local bookstore or

"This book should come with a warning label: 'Be ready, you are going to have to go deeper than you ever imagined.'"
—Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina

"Zelda Lockhart's soulful guide for fledgling writers is an extraordinary gift of generosity and eloquence, a treasure map of our uncharted imaginative topographies."
—Dana Heller, Eminent Scholar of English, Old Dominion University

"Rather than hiding from our past and the difficulties we have each endured, Lockhart teaches us how to shine a light on those painful memories and make sense of them through writing resolutions to those stories. Part creative writing and part therapeutic writing, Lockhart's work is open, accessible, and allows writers to gain new perspectives on life events that have shaped us."
—Dr. Michele Forinash, director of Expressive Therapies Division, Lesley University

Utilize your emotional, psychological, and spiritual self to produce the first draft of a full-length manuscript. This book helps you take the stuff that has been making a mess of your life and use it instead to make art, harmonized with craft. It acts as creative companion for individuals (those with or without writing experience) as they journey through the sharing of an impactful event in life, do exercises that help them transform internal obstacles into external gifts, and then write resolution and outcome. Lockhart's own rough drafts and excerpts from published fiction, memoir, and poetry of writers like Toi Derricotte, Helena MarIa Viramontes, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, along with films by writers and directors like Sherman Alexie, offer kinship on the journey of unearthing and sharing a personal plot.

At times, you will feel that the book is designed to produce a new emotional, psychological, and spiritual you and that your resulting manuscript is merely the byproduct. Both are true of the design, because the purpose of art is to make yourself vulnerable about your experiences here in life--to have the courage to be vulnerable about those experiences so that you can connect with others who came here solo like you and will leave solo just like you.

And that process of sharing is transformative.

Zelda Lockhart is currently Alumni Endowed Chair for the Department of Language and Literature at North Carolina Central University teaching creative writing, and is director at LaVenson Press Studios: Inspiring Women to Self-Define through Writing & Publishing. She is pursuing a Ph.D in Expressive Art Therapies, holds an MA in literature, and a certificate in writing, directing, and editing film from the NY Film Academy. She lectures across the US on issues specific to the human struggle and on ways that consuming and creating literature are good for what ails us. She welcomes visits to her websites: and

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