Writing a memoir properly takes time. But, in this post, we’ve created a quick start guide to writing a memoir to help you get started.
A Quick Start Guide To Writing A Memoir
Pick A Timeline
A memoir is not an autobiography. It’s a book that covers a certain time in your life. You can mention things that happened before or after this time – but only if you have to. And if you do, keep it short. You can do this on your computer, or on a physical pin board, or on a piece of cardboard. Pin boards are great because you can pin the scenes of your memoir on it. There is no wrong way or right way, but do create the timeline.
Read: How A Timeline Helps You Plot A Novel (This works for a memoir as well)
Decide On A Theme
A reader-friendly memoir usually has a theme – a way to decide what belongs in your memoir and what doesn’t. Learn how to narrow your focus. (You may be able to write more than one memoir if you have conflicting themes in the first one.) Decide what your story is about in one sentence and make sure the scenes you write resonate with this in some way.
Write In Your Voice
Remember that this is your story and you’re the only one who can tell it your way. Write in your own voice. Don’t write in a way that you think people want you to. Don’t be pretentious or silly or self-effacing if you’re none of those things. Write the story as you’d tell it to your best friend – or somebody you’d really trust. Be honest.
Write The First Draft
Write the story you want to tell. You can do this two ways:
- Write the first draft as quickly as you can so that you have something to work with. Once you’ve done this, you can start the research you will need to do to verify facts and dates that you’ve included.
- Do your research. Interview people if you need to. Write a list of scenes and sequels that you will use in the book. Then start writing. Remember that this will also still be a first draft and will need reworking.
Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a memoir, look into our Secrets of a Memoirist course.
If you want to read more about memoirs:
- The 4 Pillars Of A Memoir
- Why Memoirists Are Their Own Worst Enemies
- The Ultimate Memoirist’s Checklist
- 5 Ways To Write About Real People In Memoirs
- 5 Common Traits Of A Successful Memoir
- 6 Differences Between A Novel & A Memoir
- 7 Tips For Finding Your Memoir Mojo
- 7 Tips From Journalists To Write A Better Memoir
by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson
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