Top Menu

memoir proofreading

Truth in Your Memoir – Three Tips For Including Safe “Guess-timates”

When writing a memoir or family history, you will inevitably come across bits of information that you want to include, but which you cannot verify. Once you have ascertained all the facts that can be checked, other truths may become evident. But these truths may not be of the sort that anyone can authenticate. For instance, you believe your parents were not in love with one another. How to honor the truth in your memoir? Can this be proved? Not likely. All you can do is infer the truth.

1) Include inferred truth in your memoir.

These truths can flesh out your stories and add meaning which would otherwise be lacking.

For instance, your parents were married in 1930. Most young couples are without solid financial backing when they start out. Your parents, as much as you (and anyone else) knows, didn’t have any “rich uncle” to ease them through these first years. Are you justified in concluding they must have felt the effects of the Depression during their first days together?

You can’t “prove” this, of course. If, as scientists do with their theories, you proceed as if your hypothesis were true—that your parents must have had a lean time of it then—what insight does this assumption give you about decisions they made during those years, or about attitudes they held in their later life together? Interpretations like these, based on reasonable inferences, can make another person’s life more understandable and your portrait more full. It serves truth in your memoir.

2) As you include your interpretations, always attribute them to yourself by attaching phrases like “If that were true, it seems to me that…”

A writing coach can help you at every step of the process. Having “been there and done that”—and being able to talk clearly about it, a memoir-writing coach can point you in the right direction and gently correct your course.The Memoir Network Ghostwriting Services

A coach is a teacher, a cheerleader, a critic, a motivator, a writing buddy, a person who holds you accountable for meeting your goals, a good listener, and sometimes an editor—and a coach can be more if you need more.

For a free consult, call 207-353-5454 today to make an appointment.

Click here to read more about coaching.


Your interpretation or inference will take its place as a possible truth in the story you are writing. Although it is essentially different from verifiable truth, the inferred truth has a rightful place in your writing. Without it, your story will be more slight.

3) As you allow yourself to arrive at conclusions in this way, be sure to recognize clichés that mar the truth in your memoir.

These are the ill-fitting shortcuts that actually obscure the individuality of your characters. If you find yourself writing, “Everyone in those days was like that,” let the alarm bells go off! You have left the firm ground of inference behind and are tromping into the sloppy swampland of clichés! There is no truth in memoir here.

 

The Memoir Network blog reposting” width=And now this one thing…

This post is one of over 500 informative, well-written articles we have made available to you on this site.

We’ve contributed to your writing success; now we ask you to contribute to the expansion of the memoir conversation.

By reposting this article on your blog or website or reposting on your favorite social media, you will inform your fellow memoir writers of the programs and services—many for free like the blogs—that are available at TheMemoirNetwork.com.

Thanks for your generosity. You rock.


, , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply