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Down to Basics: Vignettes, Scenes, and Dialogues

Down to Basics: Vignettes, Scenes, and Dialogues

Basic units of memoir writing

Vignettes, scenes, and dialogues are at the core of any memoir. Here are some ideas for writing them more quickly and elegantly.

1. Don’t worry about order.

Don’t stop to figure out how these snippets—vignettes, scenes, and dialogues— may eventually fit together into a story.

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These bits and pieces will accumulate as you recall more and more and continue to write them down. Giving yourself permission to write in small, separate segments (vignettes, scenes, and dialogues, etc.) is a great way to start writing. Because there will always be your memory list of things to write about, you will never experience “writer’s block!” Fitting these pieces together to craft a polished story will come later, in the rewriting stage. Right now, it’s important to get text—any text—down on paper. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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2 Responses to Down to Basics: Vignettes, Scenes, and Dialogues

  1. Avatar
    David Lyman March 6, 2018 at 8:01 PM #

    Screenwriters often use colored 3X4 index cards to jot down scenes. A few words. Place. Time of day. Characters involved. Few words of dialogue to jog your memory when it comes time to write.
    Build a stack of cards.
    Later when the stack falls over, it’s time to organize and draft an outline.
    Then you can begin the writing.

  2. Avatar
    Denis Ledoux March 8, 2018 at 10:14 AM #

    Thanks for your suggestion, David. There are so many styles of approaches that can work well that it is always a contribution to get ideas like yours.

    Just my two cents: I would start writing before the stack of cards falls over! 🙂

    Keep writing. Patience and persistence wins the day! And…

    Keep contributing your thoughts.

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