In 20+ years as an editor, I’ve seen this phenomenon again and again: a memoir or personal story has turned into a different book by the time the writer is finished. If your memoir is “turning on you”, don’t feel you must cling to your original purpose. You might be surprised where that feisty little book takes you.
Writing that gives us insight into the writer’s life and emotions makes a personal story come alive.
And the techniques we learn from releasing our own stories can be used in a variety of writing situations and genres: memoir, self-help, how-to, anecdotes for a variety of non-fiction projects, blogging and even fiction.
In Exercise 1: Time Travel we used introspective methods to extract life and colour from our memories.
Exercise 2: The Interview is a completely different approach. This time, you ask someone to assist you by asking questions, and you record the conversation for later review. It’s similar to techniques I’ve used myself a number of times over the years, when helping authors bring a dry or incomplete story to life.
Check out these “interview” tips, to see if they could help you with your story.
Memoir is just one genre which benefits from personal stories, told well. They bring other types of books alive, including self-help, travel narrative and how-to.
Learning how to write our memories comes in handy for novelists too, as events from our own lives influence the experiences our characters enjoy or endure.
Use this practical exercise to help you access the rich personal stories that live and breathe inside of you.
If you’re writing memoir, you’ve made a good choice. Along with vampires, it is a genre du jour. People love to read the lives, struggles and joys of other real people, when they are told with honesty and energy. Here are some practical tips from award-winning Australian memoirist, Kristina Olsson.
Everyone is writing their memoir these days… but not everyone is reading them! Some quick tips for turning your memories and personal stories into an engaging and readable book.