The bigger picture in a memoir is essential for your reader (and you!) to better understand the period of your life you are writing about. A memoir that is set in the historical context of your time, even with just a few references to events, broadens your personal story into a larger story for your readers. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Many new memoir writers come to The Memoir Network site—as you have done—and find here much material—informative posts on this blog and e-books, MP3s, and e-courses in the My Memoir Education area.
For some of writers who have in mind a readership of children, grandchildren, relatives and a few friends, the free material is enough—enough to supplement their writing skills and knowledge and culminate in a well-received memoir. While they want to write the best memoir they can, they also realize that the bar is not high—theirs is, after all, an appreciative audience which will be thrilled with whatever the writer produces.
For other writers, however, who want to produce a memoir read by a larger audience—people they don’t know and who don’t know them—the challenge is greater. The memoir calls for more structuring of the story line—its pacing and arching, more depth of analysis—after all, “that’s just who I was” is hardly a perceptive observation, more attention to style, greater use of fiction techniques—foreshadowing, suspense, repetition, allusions, compare and contrast.
These topics are covered in many of the blog posts, but knowledge is one thing and practice is another. So…
Many writers come to the realization that if they could have done it alone, they would have done it by now. If this is you, working with a memoir professional will bring you great dividends. It will take you from trying to write a memoir to being a published writer. Look up how an editor, coach, or ghostwriter can help you write a memoir a larger public will want to read.
If you want to learn how to write vividly, use the following tips for avoiding vagueness in writing your memoir. When a manuscript slips into a vagueness, the reader reads and rereads and does not quite “get it.”
People will sometimes suppose that only big drama can make an interesting memoir. Of course, there are many readers who require constant titillation if they are to remain reading. Perhaps they are not the readers you should be seeking for your memoir. Nonetheless, nearly all readers require some attention to “interesting.” No, I do […]
If you are hiring a ghostwriter, of course, you are concerned with how much it will cost to have your memoir written. Here are some guidelines… What if you had a few useful guidelines to help you determine if the costs you are being asked to pay are in line with current rates? Well, you […]
What a top editor does for you. People often ask, “What sort of input does an editing client receive from her/his Memoir Network editor?” The answer, of course, varies according to the client. No two receive the same response. We always individualize. You persist in asking, “Yes, yes, but what sort of manuscript input can […]
Your relationship to your memoir-writing coach is likely to be a long one. There is no other way to make it effective. Coaching is like counseling in a way. Counseling requires an introductory, getting-to-know-you phase before both of you can move on to a productive phase. You can’t expect a counselor to help you with […]
Read The Memoir Writer’s Blog archives as a way to create a context for you to delve into your memoir on a given day–here’s how it helps your memoir.
All About the Memoir Editing Process
When I begin the memoir editing process with clients, I tell them that a proper editing requires three “read-throughs.” It is impossible to give a manuscript all the attention it deserves in one reading.
Reading a manuscript without doing any specific editing and forming only a general impression has always seemed a good idea in theory, but I have not found a way to do so that is economical. I have therefore evolved this concept of read-throughs as a memoir editing technique. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Give yourself permission to write a rough first draft. Write pages and pages in which you describe the who, the what, the where and the when of the story. Later, as you rework the piece, the why will be written in.
If you are one of those memoir writers who is not otherwise a writer and who will perhaps never write anything else, know that you need to be kind to yourself. In the Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshops, I am often surprised—and dismayed—at how demanding writers are on themselves at an early stage of the process. There are even times when a writer will not turn in a piece of writing because it was not “good enough”—and that in spite of my having told the group that the writing they would submit would still be in its first draft stage.
Think of the first draft of writing as “fixing” the story in the same way that in days when photographs were fixed by chemicals that stage was important if the image was not to be lost. Your first draft is the stage when you “fix” your story, keep it from being lost rather than make it into a masterpiece.
Don’t reward yourself for being a perfectionist!
Why is writing so hard? Why does what you want to write become so difficult the moment you sit down to write? Where are the words you need to convey the excitement or the dread or the anticipation. You are shocked to realize that what appears on the computer screen has no pizzazz! This is […]