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First paragraph

The First Paragraph Can Make or Break a Memoir for the Reader

Writers sometimes struggle with how to begin a story and will not write the story until they have the beginning—the first paragraph.

This is not a good way to proceed.

The first paragraph of a memoir sets the tone.

The first paragraph creates the tone and often presents imagery that will shape the reader’s appreciation of your story—whether a vignette or a full memoir.

In a short story I wrote many years ago, I did not compose the first paragraph until I had written the whole story. Frankly, I was stumped and did not know how to begin the story, how to launch the  reader.

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memoir fiction

Is Memoir Fiction?

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 Memoir Network

The Thin Line Between Memoir and Realistic Fiction

[DL.: Many readers of this blog are writing memoir as a possible entry into fiction writing. The following is a reprint of an article that appeared in the fictorians.com blog that explores the relationship between the two genres. The Fictorian blog is an extensive one and many readers of The Memoir Network blog will enjoy perusing its archives—and becoming members. Kristen Luna, its author, has graciously given me permission to reprint her post here. While I am not in total agreement with the fluidity between memoir and friction as depicted in this post, I believe the post is a stimulating one. I have written about this topic of memoir and realistic fiction elsewhere. Please post your feedback below.]

imgres-3In the summer, my brother and I would walk to our small town library. Sometimes, we’d cross paths with a man walking his mountain lion on the sidewalk. One time, the mountain lion bit my arm, and I needed fourteen stitches.

It’s crazy, but it’s actually mostly true. I was afraid for my life when I saw the mountain lion, but it never actually bit my arm. But it’s plausible, and who’s to say I’m wrong? It’s my memory, after all.

I technically could sell this story as a memoir. But when someone starts digging into my history and finds that, although there was a man in my hometown that had a pet mountain lion, there are no hospital records of me getting stitches. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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