Without other people, our lives and our memoirs risk becoming dull. Although ideas are pivotal for many individuals, relationships are even more commanding. We are intrigued with who other people are and how they function. “Who’s that? What are they doing? Where did they come from?” These are question we want answered. To write a strong story, capitalize on this interest. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
There are many elements to the writing process. Articles reviewing many of the steps of that writing process you must take to become a successful memoir writer are collected here.
These articles will help you, the aspiring the memoir writer, at every stage of your commitment to produce an interesting and meaningful memoir for yourself, your family and—perhaps—for the world.
The old adage “Show, don’t tell!” is as true as ever. It is one technique that will always improve your writing. I admit that there is some great writing that makes a precedent for “tell,” but as a rule, “show” is more effective.
1. Your pen is your movie camera.
In a film, a director ( that’s you!) doesn’t have an actor go on screen to tell the audience that someone is angry. Instead, he shows the character in a scene where anger is in action. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
Denis Ledoux: I had the pleasure of working with Susan Yerburgh for several years as she articulated her message in Shadows & Light: A Journey of Healing and Empowerment and used it to continue her own healing journey. Because of the significance of her writing and life experience, I am delighted she agreed to do […]
Why we write stories that fascinate us
In the following YouTube video to which I will send you shortly, I write about why stories fascinate us all our lives. As children, we love to listen to bedtime stories. As we grow older, we tell our own stories about what happened at school or at our after-school job. As adults, we often speak in stories and consume stories in the form of novels, movies, TV dramas, and conversations at the grocery store as we wait in line. [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.
In this video, Use This Instead of Writing Prompts, we discuss what to use instead of writing prompts. Writing should matter.
In this video, Work With or Through Pain: Writing Through 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.
As you articulate your memoir theme, ask yourself if this memoir theme is really yours—does it reflect your present understanding of your story and of life itself? Or is it a residue of the accepted “wisdom” of someone else: a parent, another adult figure, society at large?
1) A theme that is authentically yours makes for better writing.
It comes from your center of experience. Writers who recognize, acknowledge, and explore their authentic memoir themes in their writing are more apt to present us with clear, to-the-point stories than those who repeat inherited memoir themes or who think they can ignore the issue of theme.
Early in our lives, you and I were naturally and rightfully the recipients of someone else’s—a parent’s or grandparent’s—understanding and interpretation of life. As long as these interpretations correspond to our own adult views, we can write easily within their context. What often happens, however, is that we continue to espouse a point of view inherited from another without realizing that it has ceased to correspond to our own. When challenged, we will say “Well, I guess I really don’t believe that anymore. Isn’t it something how I wrote (or said) that!”
Sometimes, years after I’ve heard from someone that he is writing a memoir, I will connect with the writer again. Perhaps it’s three or four or five years later, but the writer is working on the same memoir. I don’t get it. So I ask politely, “What has snagged the memoir?” In short…
I has taken that writer too long to write his memoir!
How long does it take to write a memoir?
Well, I don’t actually know the answer to “how long does it take to write a memoir?” What I know is a memoir needn’t take so long to compose. A memoir—and interesting and meaningful one—can be written in 12 to 24 months.
If that’s so, then why do some memoirs drag on?
Here are some reasons your memoir may be taking you too long.
How does memoir coaching improve your manuscript?
“What does ‘My family was poor’ mean, ” I asked a memoir writer in a recent coaching session.
“Poor?” he asked at the other end of the phone line. “What do you mean what does poor mean? Poor means poor!”
“Does poor mean you didn’t have enough to eat or does it mean you never ate out at restaurants? Does poor mean you were forced to run out on your rent or does it mean you did not have an in-ground pool?”
Clearly, descriptive always adjectives don’t mean what we think they mean!
Empty literary “calories”
On the spot, I shared with him how adjectives are empty literary “calories.” They do nothing for the story but fill up space. They pretend to be effective but are not. Every writer needs to depend on scenes, dialog, settings, characters to tell the real story.