In my ongoing series, Writing a Memoir like a Novel, I share what I know about writing fiction as it applies to memoir. I hadn’t tried my hand at a memoir until I took on the project that became This New Mountain, but I have written short stories, novellas and novels. You might understand, then, why my approach to writing AJ Jackson’s true story (of a feisty private detective and grandmother) included the elements that make up a work of fiction.
If you’d like your memoir to have the depth and flow of a novel, try adding fictional elements — and check out my posts about crafting characters, setting, dialogue, a compelling opening, point of view, and story arc. Here are the summaries of the six articles in the series so far:
Apply fiction techniques to your “built-in” characters to bring your story, and the real-life people who inhabit it, to life. Physical description doesn’t tell us who a…
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Memoir is a story about someone’s life, right? Sure, if you want it to be boring.
A good memoir is not just a series of events shared chronologically. It is a tale with heroes, villains, conflict, subtext, and a great plot to keep the pages turning. Writing events down chronologically might be fine for a history book or genealogy, but if you want to engage your readers, you need to think about action. One event in a life has a direct impact on the next event. Everything you do effects the people around you and how your life develops.
A scene is action. Plot is a series of actions. When you outline your memoir, think about the actions that shaped your life and made you who you are.
Perhaps you were born in Cleveland, then you moved to LA when you were 10. Those are facts, and you might want…
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Today I am proud to showcase memoir writer D.G. Kaye, who discusses the use of memoir writing as a vehicle for healing the self. I will give her the floor here as her guest post below such a high-quality one! Take it away, D.G.
I was delighted when you opened up this blog because the issues you present here are all so relatable to other women; a place where we can come and read inspiring stories about women who have accomplished so much in various aspects of life.
I personally enjoy reading stories of people’s personal victories, of overcoming adversity, and growing from unhealthy situations. I am happy to see that in this time of the world, more and more women are recognizing, confronting and speaking out about injustices they have endured.
I’m a memoir writer. My first book Conflicted…
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