1. Kstaraga

    Kstaraga Active Member

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    Anyone Have Experience With Memoirs?

    Discussion in 'Non-Fiction' started by Kstaraga, Aug 31, 2020.

    I am hoping that this is the right place for this.

    I was thinking of writing a memoir about dealing with some significant medical issues in my life. I thought it would be easy, but I started writing and I have taken quite a long hiatus from it as it caused many triggers for me. I'm contemplating restarting it because I feel that it is writing that could help someone out there that had a lot of the same struggles.

    I have trouble with the organization because I tend to ramble when I get hooked on a topic I know a lot about and I feel that what I wrote is mostly rambling. I mean, it has it's own purpose, but the organization seems weak and I definitely don't want that. What is the best way to organize a memoir? For all my experiences with medical issues and being in a public school, should that be it's own chapter? Then the diagnosis/stages of grief be a different chapter? I'm not quite sure. I don't want it to be a snore, but organization for writing is a must.

    Also, with the work being based on reality - am I able to be sued even if I change the names of people, places, etc.? I suppose it would be even harder to do, but is it a common thing? Has an author ever lost such a case? I want to think I'm safe by writing what was said by said person if I change their name. Of course if that person read it, it might sound familiar to them.

    Any memoir advice would be great!
     
  2. Dalantri

    Dalantri Member

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    My only experiences with the memoir is from college writing. I did okay with the material but by far NOT an authority.

    I think you’re on the right track by understanding that organization is important. If I can offer anything to help it is that focusing on one aspect of your life an not EVERY aspect. If you were to write about George Washington, which part of his life would you focus on? It’s the same with the memoir, you are telling about an experience of a particular aspect of your life. Then stay with the basics (beginning, middle, end) and what you want to convey about the experience.
     
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  3. Kstaraga

    Kstaraga Active Member

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    Thanks for the tip, it helps out a bit.

    Memoirs seem so tricky in a way, it's a different style than what I'm used to. Might have to pick up a few and study them.
     
  4. DriedPen

    DriedPen Member

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    I can help! I recently completed my memoir, and published it, and it was even on medical issues (3 rounds of different cancer for me).

    I think the best advice I can give you is that a memoir is about a section of your life, not your entire life. That means you figure out where the start point is, and then where the end point is, and just write about the major things between those two time frames.

    I say that as if it is easy, but its not because time rolls on still. So it is tempting to write a never-ending story. But you can't, so think of it like a photo, it is a snap shot of time that is your life. For me it was a 4 year time period. This was really difficult for me because part of my issue was, during my battle with cancer, a friend of mine stole $18,000 off me when I absolutely needed it the most. In the end he paid me back (going to jail for that...twice...helped) but it was long after my memoir period ended. But, I never used his name, and legally the USA's first amendment rights is pretty strong, so I am well within the letter of the law.

    I am not sure if it helps, but in my memoir, I rolled a story about great discovery that happened in time with my battles with cancer, so it was not always doom and gloom. Like a good novel, I tried to roll the story between ups and down to make it interesting. BUT...nothing was fabricated. It all happened, just as I said it happened.

    This is get lengthy, but I might suggest making a timeline of the events that happened from the time period you select. That is what I did, and included it in my book so that readers could see in a single page, what occurred and when.
     

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