Writing Memoir

Writing Wednesday

Wednesday is the day I share what I’ve learned on my journey from writing, publication, marketing; and doing it all again, and again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me when I started.

Writing Memoir

A memoir is based on a memory, something that happened that changed your life for the better or for worse and how that something encouraged or inspired you to be a better person. That something that helped you to #keepmovingforward. The memoir is completely different than an autobiography or a biography which are the stories of an entire lifetime.

Unless you are a celebrity or a world- famous athlete trust me no one wants to read about your entire life.

Where do you start?

It’s a good idea to start by reading a bunch of memoirs. Pay attention to the writing style and the story structure. Take notes.

Attend a writing workshop, conference or check locally for community education writing classes.

Think about and answer these questions:

• Who is your target audience?
• Why do you want to tell this story?
• What do you want your reader to gain from your story?
•  Are you the best person to tell this story and why?

An outline is a good way to plan your memoir.

Begin with a synopsis (think of the text on the back cover of the book. One page that tells the reader who, what, when, where and why and tells the beginning middle and end of your book. This will serve as a sort of map that keeps you on track. To help with this, visit your library or a book store and read the back cover of at least a dozen memoirs. Keep notes on what you like and don’t like.

Add a page for each chapter. When you are ready to start writing you can work on whichever chapter you would like.

Make a list of any research you need to do. I like to keep photos or items that remind me of the period- in- time or the person or people I’m writing about.

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.

Your reader should learn something, and their life should also be affected in some way by reading your story.
Memoirs should never be about revenge and should not be a book length rant.

Typically they are between 90,000 and 100,000 words.

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 telling your story as fiction or fiction based on a true story instead of non-fiction.

If it happened to you, it’s your story. You own your story and have every right to tell that story in your own way the way you remember it.

What are you waiting for, sit down and write!

Happy Writing,




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4 thoughts on “Writing Memoir”

  1. Although I’m not planning to write a memoir, I found this information very interesting (as a former English teacher). I’ll think of this next time I read a good memoir. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned!


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