Writing Wednesday– The day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.
What exactly is a memoir? Let’s start with what it is not. It is not an autobiography which is the story of your entire lifetime. Unless you are somebody famous that has many accomplishments to your credit readers will not be interested in your entire life. It also is not a biography, which is also the story of an entire lifetime.
What a memoir is, finally clicked with me when my editor said, imagine someone is taking a walk around the block and they see your house and walk up to look into your large picture window. This day happened to be the day that “it” happened. The “it” is what changed or altered the course of your life forever. What would that person see? Whatever it is that the person would see is the beginning of your memoir. After the event there should be some brief back story, the resolution and how you arrived there and a bit about where you are now.
- A memoir is about an event, an incident, something that changed you in a positive or a negative way. It explains how you dealt with the “it,” The author questions what happened, tells the lessons learned and where you went from that moment on.
- The memoir can be written in first person from the author’s point of view. It can also be told as Narrative nonfiction which is written like fiction-in story form.
- There is little dialogue.
- The reader should learn something and their life should also be affected in some way.
- Memoirs should never be about revenge and should not be a book length rant.
- They are between 90,000 and 100,000 words.
- When writing nonfiction it helps to start with an outline.
- Make a list of any research you will need to do
- If you are writing nonfiction, you need to write the truth. Real names and places should be used unless using them will cause great harm. If you are planning on using fake names and places consider writing fiction, instead.
- If it happened to you, it is your story and you own it.
An outline starts with a brief description of your story. The description should include the beginning, the middle and the end in a concise three paragraph’s. Next, write a paragraph or two on each chapter. Name your chapters and choose a title for your memoir. Nothing is written in stone, this is just the starting point.
I find it helps to have some photo’s and personal items that remind me of the time I am writing about on my desk, while I write.
Once your outline is finished the next step is the proposal. The topic for the July 9th Writer Wednesday will be proposal writing.
Every minute you spend angry is a minute of happiness that is lost forever. Choose Happy.
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