Let’s Define the Memoir.
The short definition of a memoir is: a story (usually non-fiction) of a short amount of time or an event in a person’s life. There are lots of authors who bend the rules and add creative license into the mix when writing a memoir, but for the most part, those are the rules. It is more specific than the autobiography, which spans a person’s entire life, focusing on everything that has ever happened to the author.
Point of View: The Good and The Bad.
Memoir is subject to the author’s point of view. The beauty of this is that you get one intimate perspective that casts light on an otherwise bleak experience. The trouble with this is that our own memories are skewed. The truth as WE know it, is subject to our experiences immediately before and immediately after an event. For instance, two people can see the same movie and have dramatically different reactions to it. One might write the movie as a passionate love story that rivals that of Old Hollywood; while the other would simply say it was a sappy “chick flick” aimed to aid the viewer in their emotional torment.
Another interesting phenomenon is that Memoir creates the conundrum of the Unreliable Narrator. The author may not want you to know about their abusive tendencies or their recent brush with heroin. They may make certain people in their lives much more devious or saint-like than is necessary. The strongest fiction does this effectively, but Memoir almost relies on its effectiveness.
Memoir Writing Tips.
When writing a Memoir, an author would want to narrow the events in their lives into categories, making decisions on what to include. The hardest part is figuring out what is necessary and what can be left out. The writer is writing an intensely detailed account of a memory, written in first person, present or past tense, and intimate. A reader should always come away from a memoir feeling like they know the author a bit better than they had before.
Whatever your point of view, or reason for writing your memoir, the important thing to remember is that it is your story to tell. Now, let’s get started telling that story. If you need assistance writing a memoir we would be happy to help with our writing consultation service.