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Turning Memories Into Memoirs


This memoir writing guide by Denis Ledoux will lead you through a step-by-step process that will enable you to record your personal and family stories.

When I first came across Turning Memories into Memoirs, I had never attempted to write anything. Your instructions were so detailed and user-friendly that I became convinced writing a memoir was possible, even for someone like me. Just by following along with the process outlined, I’ve been able to produce something of quality for future generations. Thank you!
—Karen Tormey, author of Snow in Summer

Denis Ledoux’s Turning Memories into Memoirs is an overview that encourages those on the edge who feel inadequate in their writing skills and breaks down the process of life story writing so it is not so overwhelming.
—Linda Austin, blogging at

This book is the fruit of four years of workshopping with writers on a weekly basis. Its ideas and approaches have been tested with many people—from fairly good writers to total beginners.

Subsequent revised editions benefited from even more experience. This third edition is solidly anchored on experience.

We offer Turning Memories Into Memoirs with free shipping in the US and the choice of a free e-book with your purchase.

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To view the Introduction and Chapter 1 of Turning Memories Into Memoirs, Click Here.

To purchase an e-copy for Kindle from Amazon at $7.99, Click Here.


If you are writing a memoir or are thinking of writing your personal story, buy a copy of Turning Memories Into Memoirs / A Handbook for Writing Lifestories. It’s the best memoir writing book available anywhere at any price.
Turning Memories Into Memoirs contains countless helpful suggestions for writing better memoir:

    • remembering more details than you now think possible.
    • collecting and researching family or personal stories.
    • pacing and arching your story for maximum effect.
    • telling the truth and dealing with painful memories.

Turning Memories Into Memoirs includes:

    • how-to writing exercises,
    • clear explanation of literary terms and techniques,
    • proven motivational supports and examples from actual workshop writers.

[Turning Memories Into Memoirs contains] “step-by-step instruction, lots of examples, a fine appendix and a detailed index, making it a useful reference over time. Cincinnati Post

Since 1988, Denis Ledoux has helped thousands of people get started on their memoirs. Time Magazine

This is a valuable guide for both beginners and experienced writers who want to produce personal and family stories

Turning Memories Into Memoirs is based on the Turning Memories® workshops in which thousands have learned to write autobiography and biography—personal and family stories. This has contributed to making this the best memoir writing book you will find.

Additional benefits:

    • advice on how to establish and maintain a writing life.
    • info about how to craft a unified collection from individual stories.
    • insider tips about self-publishing options.
    • guidance to explore archetypes to inform your characterization.
    • advice on how to use the Internet to build a wider historical context for your memoirs.


Additional information


Audio (MP3), Electronic (PDF), Hard copy of Turning Memories Into Memoirs with Beyond Writing Prompts eBook (PDF), Hard Copy w/ Memory Binder eBook

10 reviews for Turning Memories Into Memoirs

  1. Kitty Axelson-Berry

    A must-have for anyone writing a memoir — one could say “The Joy of Cooking” for memoirists. My own memoir and self-publishing clients have been unknowingly benefitting from some of his techniques since 1994, when I was a newbie and he was already a seasoned pro.

  2. Justine Kuntz

    The Denis Ledoux handbook for writing lifestories (TMIM) is a classic. I have used it in my classes for ten years and the students find it readable, as well as helpful. If one wants to write rather than investigate the plethora of “how to” literature on memoir writing, this is the first, and often the only, book needed as a motivator, guide and reference. My students comment that it is “actually enjoyable to read.” The Index in the back of the book is especially helpful in answering their grammatical questions until we can discuss them in the next class. The stories included often give students ideas for their “next story.” It is not a book of fill-in-the-blank pages and padding. It is a handbook for one who is a writer of sorts and is striving to renew writing skills enough to preserve their stories in their own words for their own future generations.

  3. Wintergreen

    Since this book is about truth-telling, a bit of truth-telling from me first: I know author Denis Ledoux and helped edit this book. But that adds punch to my review: I know him to be honest and simple, in a Quaker kind of way. His book is full of good, clear advice on getting your writing to be the best it can be. I know how much effort he puts into each memoir he edits, and how much effort he put into writing this book. He is fully dedicated to the art of memoir writing as separate from other sorts of non-fiction, and believes that anyone, with the proper encouragement and support, can write a respectable memoir, even if all he or she has to start with is a pile of old photographs.

  4. Libby J. Atwater

    “Turning Memories into Memoirs” is an excellent resource for life writing teachers and those who want to tell their own stories. I used it as my main text when I taught life writing classes for several years, and I highly recommend it to those who want to write their own stories but have no idea how to get started.
    The best piece of advice I gleaned from this book was “Write the most important stories first.” That advice started me writing my own memoir and helped me continue, especially when I wrote difficult material.

  5. Brenda Seekins

    Denis Ledoux is my go-to resource and mentor for writing personal and family history. I had the good fortune to participate in his lifewriting workshop and have used his teachings as a guide ever since. His Turning Memories into Memoirs is a workbook for beginning your personal journey in lifewriting. I have purchased other memoir “inspiration” books, but they don’t measure up for creating a plan for your own writing. This book is one to add to your library if you’re studying memoir and have any plans to write. Everyone has advice. Denis offers a working model.

  6. Michael St. Mark

    This book has all the advice I needed. I was elated with that the dos and don’ts hit right on target. I read and reread it

  7. Maurice L. Monette

    I wish I had this book when I was writing my own memoir! I had to go through the school of hard knocks to learn what I could have learned from the book. How much easier it would have been to study the hints in this book or go to one of the author’s workshops. Never too late! I am now using the book to evaluate what I’ve written and to formulate my next writing project.

  8. Richard L. Hill

    Over my many years I have been fascinated with Ancestry, especially with my own family…Many fascinating stories and information began emerging and then I sat down with my mother, who was then in her late 80’s, and we started a process of talking about the family members she knew and also about my father’s life and his family…Within a few months we put together the very first memoir in our family and gave everyone in our family a copy. They loved it…It was at this point that I decided to join Denis in his adventure of helping others write their memoirs. I took his course and over a period of about five years I worked with numerous people in Florida utilizing Denis’s book and his outstanding Memory Binder that helped these people both organize their family history and their personal lifestory writing project. Ledoux’s Turning Memories Into Memoirs is the complete guide for writing lifestories.

  9. Ethel Lee-Miller

    I use this book with my creative writing group. Most are writing lifestories and they voted to use this as our text this year. Thirteen seniors with the average age of 80, so there’s lots of life experiences and wisdom. We are enjoying this book immensely.

  10. Burnside Robert

    I love Denis’s book. It is so real. It shows that people need to get close and personal to their past, to enhance the human aspects of their life. I think Denis must be one of the warmest and most compassionate people on the universe. We all have a memoir in us, but I think we are afraid to pull it out and hand it to the public because there may be something there that we don’t want to expose. He shows that there hundreds of ways to enhance a memior and that it should be close and personal. I also know Denis is on his life’s trip because he has been doing memior work for decades. So, this is about love – not money. Jump in and enjoy.

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