Recalling the details of our life stories can be a challenge. Devising a Memory List is the first best thing you can do, but if you want additional ideas, here are five memory recall tips for remembering more than you might have thought possible.
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One begins a memoir with a sense of the uniqueness of the story. “It simply has to be told,” you realize excitedly. “The world needs to hear about this.” Then as you write week after week, month after month, and sometimes year after year, that uniqueness sometimes seems to evaporate as you distance yourself from the period of the events and the excitement of having lived it.
Theme influences choices for every element in the story: plot development, characterization, and setting. Is theme important. You bet it is!
Don’t be afraid of similes and metaphors. “I don’t quite know how to describe what I’m feeling,” you might say during your writing as you grope for a way to describe in words this emotion that is beyond words.
This may sound like a trick question but it’s not. In fact, it is a very serious question that will determine—or at least greatly influence—the tone and the theme of your narrative.
“But, I’m writing my memoirs!” you might answer. Yes, of course. You! But, which you?
We’ve all had the experience of the various parts of ourselves in internal debate. For instance, a friend asks you to go to the movies. One part of you thinks, “Sure!” Another part responds, “Wait a minute.
I do not write a memoir from an outline. Instead I create a Memory List as outlined in Chapter 2 of Turning Memories Into Memoirs. The Memory List helps you to follow the promptings of the unconscious rather than the dictates of the conscious mind as is the case with an outline. (An outline is great for an essay–”The Three Causes of the American Civil War”– but it is the death of an exploratory memoir.)
Over editing can kill your memoir. Alter your writing approach. Stop the editor; invite the creator/artist. It will help you to write differently. Many new memoir writers come with the great big bad habit they learned over years of editing
Is writing a chronology of a life enough?
Dates and facts are necessary to life writing in the same way route numbers are necessary to maps. It’s not only that dates and facts provide interesting information but that they keep your readers on the right path as they make their way through your life story.
The Passive Voice Has Less Impact than the Active Voice. Generally speaking, the passive voice of the verb (the subject has the action done to it) is weaker than the active voice (the subject does the action) in involving the reader in your story. That is crucial because as a memoir writer you are not […]
Redundant word usage is rampant! As a writer, I am chagrined when words get misused and one particular miscreant is redundant word usage.