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point of view in a memoir

Point of View in a Memoir, Part 2

Your Point of View in a Memoir Is Important

What is the importance of point of view in a memoir? In the previous post on point of view, I shared my  challenge of trying to write material in a ghostwritten memoir that I knew to be true but which the subject was not forthcoming with. This is not “Truth” material. It is more the sort of reflection that a more intuitive, self-reflecting person might make to cast light on her/his life. The memoir in question is We Were Not Spoiled, a memoir I co-wrote with my mother Lucille Verreault Ledoux. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Point of View in a Memoir, Part 1

Point of View In a Memoir Is Important

This is the first of several articles on point of view.

I recently completed my mother’s memoir, We Were not Spoiled. It was a work of love that took me many years to bring to closure as I had other work to do to support myself that filled my days. Finally, she got to be quite a bit older, and beginning to feel urgency as many people do when in my position, I put the push on finishing her story.

I’ll be sharing with you in the next few blog entries my experience of writing someone else’s memoir. My mother was after all another person with her own agenda and experience. As the co-writer, my task was to listen to her and to write as close to her point of view as possible. How does one remain faithful to another’s point of view in a memoir? [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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passive vs active voice

Passive Vs Active Voice

Generally speaking, the passive voice of the verb (the subject has the action done to it) is weaker than the active voice (the subject does the action) in involving the reader in your story. That is crucial because as a memoir writer you are not sharing ideas but recreating life experiences to share.

action in a memoir

Do you need action in a memoir?

Action in a memoir is essential—even if internalized!

Action in a memoir usually happens in the usual place—outside the memoir narrator. That is easy to grasp: “The boy ran by.”

When you use flashback scenes in which you remember someone and what they did way back then—these are not interiorized actions, these are memories of actual actions.

What can be less easy to grasp is that action in a memoir can be internal to the character, happening in the character’s mind. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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journal writing for the memoir writer

Journal Writing for the Memoir Writer

Journal Writing for the Memoir Writer

Journal writing is an effective practice for the memoir writer. It is a spontaneous and generally free-flowing activity and so can be very helpful to you in loosening up both your thinking and your writing type (the two usually go together). Your journal is an opportunity to bypass the familiar rules that govern much of the other forms of writing—especially the essay form. In the journal, whatever you write and however you write is ok. You don’t have to worry about form. For many writers—especially for new writers who are still caught in “the way it’s supposed to be written,” this is a great freedom! [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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is memoir writing important

A Memoir Writer Is an Artist

A memoir writer is an artist. If you are writing your lifestories, you have begun to do the work of the artist, to create as an artist creates. Although you may not think of yourself as a maker of art, you are engaging in the artist’s process of creating order out of chaotic reality.

To make art is to embark on a journey of discovery that leads inevitably, even if in a meandering way, to a greater understanding of yourself and your life. When you practice an art regularly and learn to do it well, your emotions and ideas are disciplined through working within the form of that art and they are transformed. This process of creation has the power to teach you how to live your life— and it will continue to provide insights as long as you pursue your art honestly and deeply. This, too, is the work of memoir writing. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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three reasons we tell stories

Three Reasons Why We Tell Stories

Why we tell stories

There are many reasons why we tell stories. Stories fascinate us all our lives. As children, we loved to be told fairy tales and to hear, time after time, the tales our parents told us about what we did and said when we were babies, as well as the stories about their own childhoods. As soon as we were old enough, we told stories about ourselves for our parents and for our friends.

As adults, we speak in stories at work, at family get-togethers, at class reunions, at town meetings, at the post office when we meet our neighbors. In fact, stories are such an important medium for us that even the numerous stories we tell and hear daily are not enough to satisfy our enormous appetites–we consume additional stories by reading novels, seeing movies, and watching dramas on television. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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vintage photo

The Photos You Don’t Have / How to Journal Without The Photos

Notice Gaps In Your Collection of Photos?

As you organize your photos for your albums, you notice gaps in what you photographed–in other words, the photos you don’t have. You remember events that you didn’t even photograph at all– perhaps you weren’t there or perhaps you were too busy to take photos.

You can ask around to find if anyone took photos you might have copies of. And what if no one has photos to record a time or a person in your life that you simply must memorialize? What to do? [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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motivation to complete a memoir

Motivation to Complete A Memoir

All writers face the atrophy of motivation to complete a memoir that seems to come with writing a long literary work over months and months and even over a period of years.

Let’s face it: writing can be hard and discouraging. The most interesting of topics [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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memoir or autobiographical fiction

But Is It a Memoir?

Memoir or Autobiographical Fiction?

Memoir or autobiographical fiction—what’s the difference? I have been reading a memoir that has been doing well here in Maine (it’s by an excellent Maine writer)–I can’t vouch for its reach in the rest of the country. It was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt so I can only presume it is receiving support elsewhere.

It’s an interesting book, very well-written in terms of style and organization, but my nagging doubt [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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