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 […]
Everyone should work on improving your writing. Find tips and theories about improving your craft.
When writing a memoir or family history, you will inevitably come across bits of information that you want to include, but which you cannot verify…
November 19 Activity: Memoir Writers Need to be Memoir Readers
Every writer should be a reader. I find it astounding to learn that someone who is writing a book is comfortable saying s/he is not a reader. In the same way that, if you wanted to play a sport or an instrument, you would want to observe how master practitioners of a sport or of a musical instrument do so. In the same way, I find it unacceptable that someone who is writing a memoir would not want to be reading a memoir as s/he writes.
November 13: How is a memoir like a movie?
In many ways, a good memoir writer treats the story the way a filmmaker treats a movie. Too often, as we write memoir, we tell the reader what is happening in the story rather than show it.
Fortunately, a filmmaker does not have this luxury—or is it curse?—of telling. The only way the filmmaker can let us know what is happening is to show something on the screen—whether that is a setting, an action or a feature of characterization such as a frown.
November 10 Activity: Writing plot into a memoir
People are sometimes surprised to learn that a memoir needs a plot. For some writers, this technique of writing plot into a memoir screams of twisting the memoir into a fiction piece. But, all of us need to be kept reading by some mechanism. This mechanism is often called plot. A plot is an action. Plot is the something that happens in a memoir. Today, we explore how to create a plot that is true to the memoir.
More of this November Is Memoir Writing Month. Activity is available with the free My Memoir Education membership, please join now.
How does memoir coaching improve your manuscript? “What does ‘My family was poor mean,” I asked a memoir writing client in a recent coaching session. “Poor?” he asked at the other end of the phone line. “What do you mean what does poor mean? Poor means poor!” “Does poor mean you didn’t have enough to […]
Non-events belong in memoir writing. I witnessed one recently while having coffee in a restaurant. A man and a 14- or 15-year-old boy whom I took to be his son walked in together and ordered. At first they were both silent, and then the boy began to speak. He spoke quite a bit. I couldn’t […]
How to write feelings into your memoir is a rather important topic. Recently on the Forum, David wrote about not accessing the feeling side of his memories, of writing a memoir that, if I am understanding him right, was all details and facts. Below is my response which can serve as a stand alone article, […]
Too many manuscripts come to an editor at a stage that reflects the I’m-ready-to-have-this-writing-over-with-finally stance of tired writers. Writing can be a long and tedious task after the initial rush of creativity and enthusiasm.
Action drives your story and keeps your readers interested. Writing with effective action is a key to creating lifestories that people want to read. 1) The action of your memoir is its plot. Generally speaking, something must happen in your story to retain the interest of your reader. Some people have had roles in the […]