Our lives are full of personal myths which we have lived out—and continue to do so daily. In this video, I write about the “orphan” and the “prince[cess]-left-at-the-paper’s door.” Both have made frequent appearances in the memoirs I have coached and edited.
Memoir writing techniques refer to the “tools” of writing. Tools are instruments people use to make or facilitate making something.
If you were a carpenter, you would use hammers and saws and levels, etc, to create solid, beautiful results. The carpenter who uses stones and tree branches and direct kicks with his feet, however, is not likely to produce a solid, beautiful result.
The same range of tools is a true with writing. There are “tools” which, if you use them, will help you to write a better, interesting, informational memoir. Other tools will produce crude, uninteresting pieces of writing.
Below are articles which present many different writing techniques. This list does not, by any means, exhaust the possibilities of techniques. Learn to use these and other tools of writing.
Writers seem to grasp the need every memoir has to have well-developed character and action, but the same is not true of memoir setting.
Too many writers omit to tell us enough of the setting of their story to make their memoir feel solid and real. It is as if we are reading about spirits who do not inhabit a tangible world. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Can you assume you can depend on your memory when you write your lifestories? The problem with this assumption is that memory isn’t always as reliable as you may want it to be! What are the best interview practices to find out if your memory is spot on?
In this video, Work With or Through Pain: Writing Painful Memories, I talk about writing through painful memories. Pain is often a barrier to memoir writing. Who wants to revisit difficult times? Although delving into the past is a generally pleasant experience and promotes healing and growth, it can also be painful. In fact, sooner or later, pain seems to come with memoir writing. This pain if not handled well, can inhibit—and even stop—you from continuing with your writing. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
In this YouTube video on how to be a better storyteller, I share with you how you can learn to make effective use of a variety of technical skills to shape successful lifestories.
People who are writing a memoir will sometimes say, “I want to write my stories but I have forgotten so many details. Is there any way I can get them back? Should I use writing prompts?”
There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of life writing successful. That tool is not a writing prompt: it is the Memory List. No other exercise opens up the process of life writing as quickly and as surely as the thoughtful and thorough compilation of such a list. It’s simple, and as a first step, it’s crucial.
Let me tell you about the Memory List (a general term for your list of memories).
A writing prompt in my estimation leads to nothing. I’m not a great fan of a writing prompt. Sure, they get you to writing something. And many people will insist writing something is better than writing nothing. Well, I’m not so sure of that.
Action drives your story and keeps your readers interested. Writing with effective action is the key to creating lifestories that people want to read. Here are four tips for moving your memoir plot with action. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Look with new eyes to get more info from your photos “Where do I find more details for my memoir?” you ask. “I remember a lot and I’ve done my Memory List, but where are the small stuff I need to ground my memoir—and possibly provide new insights?”
Is your family one of the many whose history is at risk for getting lost to future generations because no one has written it down? Here is a clear focus for writign a memoir Writing your lifestories—even just a few—is a great way to memorialize your family and to keep the experience of your life—and […]