Is memoir fiction? I emphatically don’t agree that memoir is fiction. Although a memoir invariably uses fiction techniques—and we will look at one in this post it must be an as-much-as-possible true accounting of an experience.
The narrator of your memoir is the voice in which you tell the story. You have many choices as to how you will narrate an experience, as to which voice or sensibility you will use.
You can be angry, righteous, understanding, impatient, intellectual, crass, or you can appropriate another position from which to narrate the memoir.
If your instinct was to say, “But, I’m the narrator!” you need to read these posts. The concept of narrator is more complicated than that. Your choice of narrator voice can either float or sink your memoir.
A narrator problem can ruin a memoir.
A narrator problem can ruin a memoir. In 1996 and 1997, I composed about 200 pages of a memoir about my high school years and then could not continue. It was blocked; I was blocked. As a result, I stored the manuscript in various computers for all the while since then.
After having completed my mother’s memoir (We Were Not Spoiled), I was looking for a personal writing project I might devote myself to. The high school memoir was always in the back of my mind—had been for years. As I picked it up to peruse it, completing it seemed the next project. It is what I am working on now. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Who is writing your Memoir?
This may sound like a trick question but it’s not. In fact, it is a very serious question that will determine—or at least greatly influence—the tone and the theme of your narrative.
“But, I’m writing my memoirs! I’m the narrator,” you might answer. Yes, of course. You! But, which you? [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
This is a note I created as I struggle with choosing the narrator’s voice for a memoir on my early life. This memoir had been stalled by simply not having the right voice. I had a wrong narrator problem. I offer this rumination as a sample of the sort of writing you can place in […]