Ever Consider Writing a Memoir?

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I was talking to an old friend recently, and we were both having trouble remembering details from our high school years. Neither one of us could remember the name of our home room teacher.

One of the comments made that had us both laughing was, “well, there goes the memoir.”

But is that true?

So what if you have trouble remembering specific details from the past? After a long passage of time (and going back to my high school years certainly qualifies for that) things can be rather fuzzy.

If this were enough to stop people from writing their memoirs, there would be no such genre. However, memory only acts through the act of remembering. And what does that require?

Only an imagination.

Something most good fiction authors have tons of at their disposal.

I’ve written about this before. The subject of all memoirs, after all, is memory, and memory cannot exist without the imagination.

I like to think of the people in memoirs as characters. A great memoir pulls you into their lives; shows what they struggle with, what they are successful at and what they wonder about.

Many of the best memoir writers focus on a few key characteristics of their characters, allowing the reader to get to know each one in depth. After all, your readers must be able to either love your characters or hate them, and you can’t provide too much detail.

Also, good memoirs introduce intriguing settings and show readers the locations you describe. Don’t be afraid to evoke emotions. Readers need to experience your story, almost as if it was their own.

You need imagination, not in the sense of inventing things, but in binding together the facts. What you know for a fact is one thing; but what you remember matters every bit as much.

Leave your readers with their mouths open in awe, laughing hysterically, or crying with sadness – or, better yet, all three. Take them on an emotional journey that provokes them to read the next chapter, and then tell their friends about your book when they finish.

Is There Any Risk?
Fiction is frequently inspired by real people or events, but it’s still ambiguous. Memoir, on the other hand, is direct and explicit, and carries some definite risks.

For instance, no matter how carefully you try to avoid it, a memoir is bound to annoy someone.

To be true to yourself, you should not use this as an excuse not to write a memoir. “I can’t write this until so-and-so dies” is more likely a crutch than a valid reason not to write.

Consider the possible ramifications, sure. But write for yourself. I believe in writing what obsesses you. It may be why I have three new novels in the works, with my own memoir already coming to a slow boil on the back burner of my mind.

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I will be joining other authors signing books from 1:00-4:00 at the Orion Township Library Local Artist & Author Fair on September 28, 2019.

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Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

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You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my two local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

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6 Responses to “Ever Consider Writing a Memoir?”

  1. Mary Hackstock Says:

    Interesting Ron, as always. I love all the information you give to other authors…something that shows you are a true “teacher” at heart…and want to share your knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Rebbeck Says:

    I am currently writing a memoir/family history dating back to the 1800s. I have a collection of documents, diaries, wedding dresses, letters, even locks of hair that are leading the way. Fascinating stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bob Wonnacott Says:

    Thanks for the above post. It is amazing how many excuses I can think of for not continuing writing my memoir. Your article hits the nail on the head! Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

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