Important Considerations When Writing Your Memoir

Here are some excerpts from my new book, The Memoir Workbook. If you’ve thought about writing a memoir (which is hugely popular these days), consider these things before you get started.

When we tell our stories, we want to tell the truth. This can be challenging in two ways.

First, it can be painful to dig into our memories and hearts and face our fears and failures, yet being brutally honest is what will cause readers to not only empathize but draw inspiration and courage for their own situation.

Second, we don’t want to hurt others who may be the culprits of pain in our stories.

Third, we don’t want to open ourselves up to a lawsuit.

So how do you tell the truth yet protect your own heart and not end up with a libel suit for defaming someone? Or turning friends into enemies? These are all important considerations (and some I’ll get into in upcoming posts).

Continue Reading…

Masterful Narrative Scenes Part 2

Narrative scenes are ones in which the story is being told, not shown. Last week we looked at a passage from Lisa Gardner’s thriller Right Behind Youwhich gave us an excellent example of a POV character narrating a tale.

This is a common technique in the mystery/suspense genre, and especially in the opening scene, which sometimes is in omniscient POV.

While writers are admonished to “show, don’t tell,” there are times when it’s masterful and the best method to instead narrate the information needed to get across to readers.

When artfully done, narrative scenes can be as riveting as cinematic scenes that play out as if watching a movie. Continue Reading…

Questions to Ask before You Start Writing Your Memoir

Here are some excerpts from my new book, The Memoir Workbook. If you’ve thought about writing a memoir (which is hugely popular these days), it’s helpful to ask some questions before you get started.

As with any book, it’s helpful to put together an outline of what you plan to write about. But before you can get to that point in the writing process, you need to understand how to tell a powerful, moving story and what thwarts that attempt.

And most importantly, you need to ask questions.

Creating a structure for your memoir is not about reinventing the wheel. You can and should base your structure off of memoirs that have already been written, though you may feel the best structure for your memoir is a unique one. Regardless, before you dig into telling your story, do your homework. Read memoirs that sound as if they might be similar to yours.

Think about the tone of your story. Will it be humorous? Snarky? Dead serious? Intense? A mixture of all these? Continue Reading…

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