How To Write A Memorable Memoir

By on September 6, 2016
How To Write A Memorable Memoir - Writer's

Writing a memoir can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You can tell your unique story in your own words and share it with the world.

There are an enormous number of memoirs out there that have had a profound effect on scores of people. Everyone has a story to tell; it could just be that you had an unusual upbringing, or that you lived through a particular period of time, or crisis, and feel others would benefit from hearing about your experiences.

Whatever your motivation putting your life story down on paper can be a remarkable and beautiful thing.

However, if you are hoping your memoir to resonate with readers, it is important to understand what separates good ones from ones which aren’t as successful.

There are some key ingredients to consider, and it is important to try and include these in your memoir.

They are:

Overcoming difficulties

As with all good fiction, there needs to be a struggle, a conflict or a journey littered with obstacles that need to be overcome.

Every reader will have faced difficulties in their lives, and reading about the strength and determination of other people facing theirs is both comforting and inspiring.

Tough experiences and recovering from them are something we have all gone through, so when reading about other people's problems, even if they are very different from our own, we can identify, resonate, and sympathise with them.

Introducing humour

Life is full of weird and wonderful experiences. Sharing these with your reader will bring smiles to their faces. No matter how tough your life has been your memoir shouldn’t be all doom and gloom. Try to make sure you have some laughter in there too.

Being truthful

There is a difference between embellishing the truth and understanding how to weave a good yarn, and simply lying outright. The former is accepted in a memoir, the latter is not. Memoirs don’t have to be written word for word as they happened, they don’t have to be chronological, they don’t have to be 100% factual, but they do have to be truthful. There is no reason why you can’t be creative and imaginative in your memoir but make sure you don’t make false claims, sweeping generalisations, or fabricate your entire story.

Create a journey

Memoirs are journeys, ones which the reader is invited to join the writer on as they discover themselves and learn and grow. Your memoir needs to show this, to explain how your experiences have shaped who you are today and what lessons you learnt along the way.

Make it personal

For readers to emotionally engage with your memoir you need to give yourself to them, you need to open up. Be detailed, descriptive and emotional and you are sure you have your readers hooked.

Deciding to write a memoir can feel daunting, exhilarating, cleansing and terrifying! If you do decide you want to share your story, why not use these tips to guide you?

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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