1. Arctic Skygazer

    Arctic Skygazer Banned

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    Help me write a memoir

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by Arctic Skygazer, Oct 18, 2017.

    Hi folks,

    On a recent trip to the deep remote wilderness, I felt a creative impulse to start writing a memoir ... my life's experiences. I have a general idea of what I would like to write about, but could use some help with details.

    P.S. I've written one short story and a few poems, but I'm really just a novice, and this project will be for the soul, not for the pocket (it will not be published commercially, perhaps just online at no cost to anyone).

    Do you have any tips for a novice writer on how to write a memoir ? You could tell me about structure, for instance. Anything, really.

    Gratitude in advance,
    AS
     
  2. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Read a couple of memoirs to see how they're usually put together. Alan Alda has a couple of good ones with a pretty decent flow to them. Other than that, just start writing. You've got a bit more leeway to writing a memoir because you don't have to worry about an ending, it's somewhat implied that if you're writing it, the story's not quite finished, so you don't have to worry about moving towards a specific goal in the book. Basically start writing whatever stories you want and when you have a few of them, start stringing them together in a pattern that emphasizes some sort of theme that links them all together, but that's not even something you really even have to worry about until you get to second draft territory.
     
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  3. Arctic Skygazer

    Arctic Skygazer Banned

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    Thank you, Dapper H ! That is exactly the kind of advice I was hoping to receive. That is great advice; it makes a lot of sense.

    I will get started writing some stories and start weaving them together with a common overall theme.

    I love "Drinking: A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp.
     
  4. BogLady

    BogLady Active Member

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    I have been struggling with exactly this same issue for almost a year. Hopefully, you will get further than I have. It seems every time I start, it sounds cheesy or whiny or boring even to me or something else and the next thing I know, I am not writing at all.
     
  5. Arctic Skygazer

    Arctic Skygazer Banned

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    I know what you mean. Sometimes, we need to back off and let the fresh ideas come to us rather than seeking them out. I myself have been wanting to write this memoir for years, but I had to wait until recently to get a creative spark that somehow gave me the confidence that this time will be different.

    I think writing a book is fundamentally different from finishing up an Excel worksheet, in that regard. The harder you try, the less you get done.

    The calmer the mind, the likelier that fresh ideas will emerge :)
     
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  6. BogLady

    BogLady Active Member

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    Maybe that is what I should do, just quit trying so hard and see what happens. Winter is a less busy time for me and maybe that will help too.
    Also, my memoir has to do with a situation and history that I thought I knew the ending and now have learned is still evolving and wasn't the story I thought it was at all.
     
  7. RMBROWN

    RMBROWN Member

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    It sounds like you lack direction. If we met at a party what would you tell me about yourself to keep me entertained. Would it be some harrowing experience. Something you learned the hard way or did you come to appreciate something you always took for granted. Keep in mind you will only have a few brief seconds to capture my attention before I move on to the next guest. If you're stuck for what you would tell me, then you probably don't have any need to write a memoir. If you don't think there will be enough time in the evening to do your story justice or that there is so much to tell, you might miss something...Then you should write, and people will read. If your not excited about what you have to say why should the reader be?
     
  8. BogLady

    BogLady Active Member

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    Oh I like this assignment....hmmmm, perhaps we have a jumping off spot...hmmmmmm
     
  9. Arctic Skygazer

    Arctic Skygazer Banned

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    Right. I think it's ok not to know the ending, as Dapper H pointed out above. It can be a fluid and engaging story that the reader can be present with and enjoy and not worry about it leading to some outcome/resolution at the end.

    I agree with Dapper that it's good to at least jot down ideas/stories as they happen ... capture them in vivid detail before they become memories that can be hard to recall. You don't have to know, yet, where it will fit into the big picture. The final product can always be edited, but it's good to have the raw material handy.

    I think I will start jotting down interesting things that happen ... the simplest of things ... like seeing a little blue jay jumping from one tree branch to another (I just saw this a few minutes ago while out on the porch) and marveling at its beauty and simplicity.
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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  11. Arctic Skygazer

    Arctic Skygazer Banned

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  12. Poetical Gore

    Poetical Gore Member

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    You want me to tell you who you are??????? :p
     

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