Learn How to Write a Memoir: Be the Hero of Your Own Story
Writing your memoir is essentially writing about a journey in which you are the hero! Learn More!
Enjoy friendly memoir writing instruction and stimulating exercises today!
Learn how to use fictional techniques as the basis for your life story
Memoir Writing Tips, Advice & Examples
By Brian Klems, Online Editor
Most of us live such interesting lives that we often think to ourselves, Should I write a memoir? Memoir writing can be a cathartic way to tell your story—whether it be funny, fascinating or simply just heart-wrenching. All over the Internet you can find examples of memoirs, memoir essays, even six-word memoirs (that's a challenge in and of itself). But before focusing too much on examples of a memoir, it's important to get your footing and understand how to write a memoir that makes for a captivating story that audiences not only want to read, but can't put down. Here are several must-own resources to help you craft a memoir that's good enough to get published.
Learn how to give your memoir that extra edge that makes agents want to represent it, editors want to buy it and most importantly, audiences clamoring to read it!
Memoir Writing Tips
A memoir is a story that casts you as the lead, with the supporting characters being your family, friends and acquaintances. When writing a memoir, you must strike the right balance of emotion and detail to capture the audience's attention and convince them that this is a story worth reading. In the Writer's Digest Tutorial, Writing the Memoir Part I, you'll learn the step-by-step process of how to write a good memoir by using the three-act story structure. You'll get tips on how to take creative nonfiction techniques and apply them to writing memoirs. Plus, Writing the Memoir Part I offers a list of 10 must-read classics that provide the best memoir examples around.
Next, move on to Writing the Memoir Part II, a 50-minute tutorial that focuses on the hero's journey (remember, you're the hero or heroine in your writing). Memoir advice pours form this tutorial and gives you a look at how your life translates into your memoir's "plot." Additionally, you'll get techniques for using dialogue and scenes to bring your story to life and how to tell the truth in your memoir to make sure you can avoid any James Frey-style controversies.
Memoir Examples: The Short Essay
Perhaps you aren't as interested in writing a full-length book as you are about sharing your stories in essay form. To learn how to write a memoir essay, you'll need the help of Writing Life Stories, Bill Roorbach's classic memoir writing tome. Inside the pages of this popular memoir writing handbook, you'll learn techniques for recalling memories, accessing emotions, shaping scenes from experience and more. Of course, by taking Roorbach's advice, you may craft so many excellent essays that you'll want to put them together and have them published as a book.
Writing a Memoir that Captivates your Audience
One thing that's important to know about writing a memoir is that it isn't just about telling your personal story—it's about telling your story in a way that captivates audiences. Paula Balzer's Writing and Selling Your Memoir Session from the Writer's Digest conference covers this topic in depth and explains how to carefully select a specific piece of your history that will resonate with readers and draw them into your writing.
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Brian A. Klems is the Online Editor of Writer's Digest. He's also a writer, husband, perennial fantasy sports underachiever, and father of three lovely little girls. His Writer's Dig blog—which covers writing and publishing—is one of the fastest growing blogs in the writing community, and his first book, OH BOY YOU’RE HAVING A GIRL: A DAD’S GUIDE TO RAISING DAUGHTERS, will be published by Adams Media this spring. Connect with him on Twitter @BrianKlems.