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November 13 Activity: Writing A Memoir Is Like Making A Movie

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.

If you think of yourself as a movie maker, you will make much greater use of the sensual details yesterday’s blog post urged you to use.

Action steps

Today, view a movie that is biographical. Observe how the camera interprets the story and brings it to you.

  • How can you use the concept of the camera to include more details in your stories? Cameras do not tell; they only show.
  • How do you need to write  memoir to give readers the sense of seeing the story if they were there.

Rework a story from your memoir as soon as possible after viewing the film.

Remember: writing a memoir is like making a movie.

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