Apologies if this is way off topic and not of interest, but the subject of your memoir made me think of a book I recently heard the co-authors discuss on a podcast. It’s a memoir, about the friendship between a woman and an 80-year-old priest, mostly through letters and emails…. Just thought you might be interested. All the best with your own memoir writing!
Shannon, it’s amazing post! I haven’t written memoirs yet, but I’m going to try. And I love to read memoirs that include interesting details not only the sequence of what happened to the person I read about.
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Many of the best memoir writers focus on a few , allowing the reader to get to know each one in depth. Your readers must be able to love your characters or hate them, and you can’t do that by providing too much detail.
Writing and the dread five-paragraph essay | Darwin's …
One of the best ways to write a powerful memoir is to be honest and genuine. This is often tricky, because we don’t want to hurt or upset the people (our family and friends!) we’ve written into our books. But it’s important that you tell the truth — even if it makes your journey as an author more difficult.
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Thank you Shannon for your sage advice. I’ve been working on my memoirs in essay form for about 10 years now with the help of my writer’s group. I appreciate what you say about creating a story with arc and viewing the people in the memoir as characters. In addition, I’m grateful for the recommendation of picking one time period (“a sliver of pie”) rather than doing a chronology of everything. Now I realize that I have 3 distinct events that happened in my life to shape me and I look forward to gearing my memoirs towards that goal. Your advice opened my eyes to the possibilities…
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Your memoir should be written as if the entire book is a snapshot of one theme of your life. Or consider it a pie, where your life represents the whole pie, and you are writing a book about a teeny-tiny sliver.
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Thank you Shannon for the great article! I am looking to start writing a memoir of my wife’s struggle with, and ultimate demise from Cystic Fibrosis, and how it relates to parenting, grief, and life in general.
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I’m a connoisseur of memoirs. In the past seven years, I might have read three books that weren’t part of the memoir genre. Not only do I devour memoirs, I also have written my own, and I coach memoir writers on turning their memories into manuscripts.