Not only do I devour memoirs, I also have written my own, and I coach memoir writers on turning their memories into manuscripts.
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! I thought, I lived this story. It was as if I decided to build a house and just started nailing together boards without giving a thought to blueprints. I put up some strange-looking houses that way, in the form of inert drafts filled with pointless scenes.
I would have saved myself a lot of time if I had drawn an arc.
Once you have your arc, you stop banging your head on all those overwhelming questions that come with writing from real life.
Where should the story begin? Where should it end? You learn not to lose the thread of your story by cramming in everything that happened—the trip to Alaska, the love letters, the musty apartment you rented before you got the house.
When you have an arc, you already know what must be dramatized in scene and what can be dealt with more quickly in summary. The Desire Line The first step in drawing an arc is to answer this question: In her book on writing memoir, Your Life as Story, my friend Tristine Rainer calls this the desire line.
The struggle to achieve the desire drives the book. You might have heard fiction writers call it the through line. You should be able to state the desire line in a sentence: I wanted to be a psychiatrist.
I wanted to stay in the police department.
I wanted to love my stepson. I wanted to make a new life in Uganda after the death of my wife. I wanted to be a model though I weighed pounds. Keep in mind that the desire line can change by the end of the memoir.
For example, a teen author might begin by chronicling the methodical engineering of his own destruction, but end by deciding he wants to live.
The desire line must be one that makes the story about you. In my case, I had to keep searching until I found the right desire line: Actions and Obstacles Once you have the desire line, you can lay out the events of your book.
What did you do to get what you wanted? What got in your way? Begin planning your story arc by jotting down a list of actions and obstacles: In your memoir, remember that you are the action hero. You try a lot of different things to solve your problem, with mixed results.
For this reason, the obstacles in your book are just as important as the actions. Obstacles are often external: Even more interesting to the reader, however, are the internal obstacles: After all, we all do, right? If your story is one of pingponging from triumph to triumph, keep it to yourself, thanks!
Why did you ignore evidence that your husband was lying to you? Or that you were lying to yourself? Often the real drama of a memoir is in watching the narrator shed beliefs and behaviors that keep him from getting what he wants.
If that happens, revisit your desire line until a clearer, more action-driven story arc presents itself. Take it from me: The best memoirs show how human beings change under pressure, not just the bad things that can happen to people.
And that change means change in you.Jan 09, · 2. Personal writing should seem honest. The reader likes personal writing to feel “honest.” (This does not mean that the memoir is “honest”—who knows how the writer really felt about.
3 Rules to Write World-Changing Memoir. by Jeff Goins The thing you cannot do when writing memoir is tell a bunch of stories. On the surface, that’s what memoir appears to be, but it’s more than that. It’s time for you to write your memoir.
Now that you know good narrative nonfiction is about more than where you were or what you. As you learn to In this article, we’ll look at how to write a memoir step by step. However, like all good essays, a memoir begins with some pre-writing tasks.
However, like all good essays, a memoir begins with some pre-writing tasks. Writing good memoir is 10X harder. If you’ve ever aspired to write a good memoir, you already know this.
It’s hard to find the courage. Hard to find the time. Hard to decide what to write about. But most of all, it’s hard to actually write the book. You aren’t sure how to get started. You don’t know what to .
3 Rules to Write World-Changing Memoir. by Jeff Goins The thing you cannot do when writing memoir is tell a bunch of stories. On the surface, that’s what memoir appears to be, but it’s more than that. It’s time for you to write your memoir. Now that you know good narrative nonfiction is about more than where you were or what you.
Feb 03, · A good memoir is rich in color--metaphors, similes, descriptions, dialogue, and feelings will make your memoir come alive. A memoir is different from an autobiography because it takes a "snapshot" of certain events in a person's life%().