Who are you, and what role do you play in a story that is not about you, but about something for which you are the illustration? This question drives my students crazy, particularly those who come to my classes thinking a memoir is about them. Full disclosure requires I tell you that Jenny Bowen is one of my personal heroes.
Not only do I devour memoirs, I also have written my own, and I coach memoir writers on turning their memories into manuscripts.
Narrow your focus Your memoir should be written as if the entire book is a snapshot of one theme of your life. Or consider it a pie, where your life represents the whole pie, and you are writing a book about a teeny-tiny sliver.
Your memoir is not an autobiography. The difference is that an autobiography spans your entire life, and a memoir focuses on one particular moment or series of moments around a theme. You want your readers to walk away knowing you, and that one experience, on a much deeper level.
Angela is his mother, and much of the storyline focuses on her and how Frank saw her, as well as the role she played in trying to hold the entire family together. Include more than just your story I know I just instructed you to narrow down your focus, but we need to think bigger in our writing pursuits.
For example, if Hillary Clinton wrote a memoir about raising a child in the White House, she would be pulling in tidbits about how she handled the media, who she let visit her daughter during sleepovers and how she navigated the politics of parenting during her time in the White House.
Likewise, if Madonna was writing a memoir about reinventing herself after 20 years away from the public spotlight, she most likely would include what it felt like to return to the music scene and how she continued to travel and perform while raising her children.
How does this apply to you? Imagine you are writing a memoir about your three-week trek through the Himalayan Mountains. While the focus is on your trip, as well as what you learned about yourself along the way, it would be wise to include other details as well.
You could describe the geography and history of the area, share interesting snippets about the people and donkeys you interacted with, and discuss your exploration of life-and-death questions as you progressed along your arduous journey.
Tell the truth One of the best ways to write a powerful memoir is to be honest and genuine. When I wrote my memoir, Breaking the Silence: I wrote my book with brutal honesty, and it has paid off with my readers — and is bringing national attention to what is happening behind closed school doors.
One more note on honesty: Memoirs explore the concept of truth as seen through your eyes. Your story, the unique one that you hold and cherish, is enough.
There is no need to fabricate or embellish. Put your readers in your shoes Powerful writers show, not tell. And for a memoir writer, this is essential to your success, because you must invite your reader into your perspective so she can draw her own conclusions. Instead, paint a picture for your audience so they come to this conclusion on their own.
You might write something like this: Employ elements of fiction to bring your story to life I like to think of the people in memoirs as characters. A great memoir pulls you into their lives: Many of the best memoir writers focus on a few key characteristics of their charactersallowing the reader to get to know each one in depth.
Introduce intriguing setting details and develop a captivating plot from your story. Show your readers the locations you describe and evoke emotions within them. They need to experience your story, almost as if is was their own.Don’t Make These 7 Mistakes When Penning Your Memoir. Writing a memoir isn’t for the faint of heart.
It requires bravery, unflinching honesty, and the ability to turn your life lessons into universal truths. When it comes to writing a memoir, there are 4 things you need to focus on. If you do, your powerful story will have the best chance of impacting others.
There are more than six billion people on the planet, and I am a firm believer that every one of us has a story to tell. Ask yourself these questions first! Sep 13, · How to Write About Yourself.
In this Article: Article Summary Examples Writing of the Autobiographical Nature Writing Personal Essays for School Writing a Cover Letter for an Application Writing a Short Biography Note Community Q&A Writing about yourself can seem embarrassing at first.
Cover letters, personal essays, and bio notes about yourself come with some specific tricks and tips .
Why not get started on writing your own obituary? This is your chance to say what you want others to know about you.
Do it for yourself: for peace of mind knowing that you have had your say. Whether you curl up with memoirs on a frequent basis or pick one up every now and again, you know powerful memoirs have the capacity to take you, as a reader, for an exhilarating ride..
I’m a connoisseur of memoirs. In the past seven years, I might have read three books that weren’t part of the memoir .