Why we write and read memoir:
- the story we are compelled to tell
- to connect with the world and other people
- to understand choices made and our own resiliency in the face of crisis
- to gain insights on the human condition
- to analyze the past while reflecting on its meaning
- to coach ourselves towards healing
- to celebrate the past as we rejoice in the future
- to validate our experiences
- to grieve, let go and move on
- to ask the question: what now?
- because our brains are hard-wired for stories and we love gossip
The difference between memoir and autobiography: memoir is the focus is on a particular story of change, transformation, or healing, a revelation, realization, or a gift during a particular time frame.
Autobiography is the story of your entire life.
On my blog:Writing Memoir Part 1 How to handle secondary characters
How do we handle writing about the people in our lives? Does it hold us back from telling the truth? Are we motivated by courage or by revenge? What do other memoir writers do?
Your voice must reflect who you are, not a persona, and yet at the same time, you are the protagonist and have a persona on the page. You have experiences, adventures, struggles and revelations, insights and self-awareness leading to transformation, healing or connection.
When we speak of pacing in fiction, we are talking about the interweave of narrative, description, dialogue, and conflicts and decisions. The plot pulls the story along and keeps the reader turning the pages.
When writing memoir, it is inevitable that emotions will rise to the surface as we describe both happy and sad memories. Sometimes what we write stirs the caldron of unresolved emotions.
The difference between reflection and take away is that reflection is a moment of inner musing to make sense of the experience but the take-away is a moment of connection with the reader, where you offer something that speaks heart to heart.
Writing tips, publishing opportunities, and memoir excerpts on fb:
My memoir Flowers in the Wind is the story of ten years of communal living. We took in the homeless, gave away free meals in the park, and visited incarcerated adults and juveniles. We traveled the world on faith and a thumb. We imitated the lifestyle of the first century disciples of Jesus influenced by the radical changes of awareness of the '60s, owning everything in common and raising the children collectively. We gave up everything to become unified. We were ultimately betrayed by one man who seized power.
I had to not only grieve and rebuild my life, but re-identify myself as a mother, a woman and a spiritual being.
The themes of wanting to be good but never being good enough; the longing to belong and have a sense of purpose; the braiding together of friendship, love and family; and disillusionment and awakening are underscored by the incredible journey to other parts of the world.