Knowing When to Stop: A Memoir

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I recommend writing two to three paragraphs about each of these events. Whichever one you find hardest to stop writing about is the winner. Some memoirists find it helpful to start from the end first. How did you get there? Perhaps you learned:.

Mistakes Writers Make About Conflict In Memoirs - Writers Write

What lesson jumps out at you when you think about a key event in your life? Vanity can kill your memoir. In a vain attempt to make yourself look better, you may be tempted to share things that never even happened. The beauty of your story is in its brutal and vulnerable honesty. Start in the middle of the action, not from the beginning.


Employ the use of flashbacks. Use descriptive language to build the world within your memoir. Create round characters. Your secondary characters should be realistic and not all good or all bad. Read it aloud.

Mistakes Writers Make About Conflict In Memoirs

Your prose should flow. Hearing the words helps you identify unnatural sentence structure. I recommend that you err on the side of caution when it comes to using real names in your memoir. She suggests that before publishing a memoir, consult an attorney. Using real names can get you in a lot of hot water and become a legal nightmare. Perhaps, just as bad, you could damage close relationships by your portrayal of them.

Image Courtesy of Law Street Media. You fiercely protect your own memories, as we all do, and the idea of cutting something out can be incredibly difficult.


Because memoirs are so personal, you need a fresh, impartial pair of eyes to help you create a stronger narrative. Let's set you up with a professional editor to develop your memoir.

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Autobiography So, which is it? A memoir or an autobiography? A memoir can be about an ordinary existence told with profound insight. But your character should spend very, very little time alone. Because a solitary character starts thinking or worrying or wondering. Even though human beings are their own worst enemies, too much interior examination bores readers. Do not include every conversation and every fight in your memoir.

Include conflict that counts and that allows you to show your story.

Stop Thinking You Know Yourself

Use confrontations and incidents as action scenes to show what happened to you. Make sure that most of them answer these five requirements. Use showing techniques to get you out of your head and allow you to show how you feel. Use body language , dialogue , and interior thought. Knowing and believing are intangible.

Your story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking and knowing. And loving and hating. Mistakes Writers Make About Conflict In Memoirs A common mistake memoirists make is to concentrate on the inner conflict in their memoir at the expense of outer conflict. For a memoir to work, we need: External Conflict.

Internal Conflict.