November 26 Activity: Depict the hero’s journey in your memoir.
Perhaps you have never thought of yourself as a hero—but in fact you are one. It is the energy of your hero’s journey that has impelled you to write a memoir. Every memoir tells the story of a hero’s journey. It is the story of how the main character (usually you) was beset by difficulties and has survived. In short, every memoir is necessarily a hero’s journey
Look at it this way: there is a problem that you have resolved and that trajectory of resolution provides the narrative of your memoir, the crisis of your memoir.
The stories and vignettes in your memoir lead to the hero’s crisis—the moment when you were about to crumble under the stress and tension of the problem. The problem then usually has a time when the main character (you) was able to leave the problem behind and step into the future. This is the turning point of your memoir.
1. Write or rewrite a story so that it includes a crisis and a turning point. Repeat this exercise for many stories as is feasible. Some stories are merely transition stories and do not call for problem-solving using the crisis model.
2. Sometimes a memoir contains a number of stories each with a crisis. Sometimes the memoir calls for one major crisis. How will you shape your memoir?
We have helped many people whose lives demanded to be recorded but who themselves were not writers to create interesting and well-written memoirs.
We listen to you speak your story. We ask you a multitude of questions. Then we get to work writing. We come back to you with text and you make lots of corrective comments and we ask you a whole lot of new questions. Then, we go back to writing again.
Over time, your story develops into a memoir—one that you have shaped at every stage of the writing process.
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