Writing Memoirs

Posted on October 3rd, by Molly in Blog. No Comments

Memoir writing may seem easy because you know the content: your life. Not so fast. Writing a memoir that others love to read requires your full writerly attention. Answer the questions: What do you want a reader to learn? Why would anyone read this memoir? What is the story arc?
I enjoy helping writers put their life stories/memoirs together for their families. This audience already knows something about the writer and has often asked specific questions of the writer, hoping for answers. Memoirists looking at larger audiences must look at their story as a novel, just not fiction. Readers love a good tale, especially if they are treated to good writing, careful development, and terrific characters. If they are new writers, then they may need some support.
As a reader for a book award, I read a memoir about a man who had overcome incredible illness and handicaps to keep his business going and to write his memoir. On was on his side, but the book was impossible to read because is was terribly written! It all came clear when he proudly boasted that he had never read a full book, but now he was writing one. Don’t be that guy. If you want to write your memoir, read several and craft your story. Kathy Brandt is a writer with several titles to her credit. She and her son wrote a memoir about their life with his mental illness, Walks on the Margins. Here is a link to her Eight Tips for Writing a Memoir. Enjoy!

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