What are some basics of memoir writing?


Quick Answer

The most basic principle of writing a memoir is that the writer must tell a story. The driving force behind excellent memoir is the desire to share a personal story of growth, discovery or change. This story must be told in a way that is unique, interesting and relatable. A well-written memoir appeals to the reader through the empathy of shared experience.

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Full Answer

The easiest way to determine the arc of a memoir is writing one sentence that describes the start and end of the story. Example: "I was mentally ill, and I wanted to feel better." Or, "I lost my husband, and I wanted to overcome my grief." This will create a bare-bones plot and will provide guidance for the process of incorporating all of the smaller details of the story.

When it comes to the smaller details, make a list of the things that were done to achieve this goal. Describe how they worked or how they didn't work. Express what was felt with each success or failure in the process. Be candid and honest. Think about how these feelings could be shared with a reader, and detail the lesson or insight that needs to be shared. Those things make a memoir worth reading, says author Adair Lara.

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