Learn How To Write A Perfect Memoir; Writing Tips And Examples To Make You An Expert
Writing memoirs is a growing trend in present day and time, with people from all backgrounds and ages engaged in encapsulating some part of their life that may be special or dull, in a collection of words, intricately framed to titillate the reader.
Many ponder on the difference between the definition of a memoir and an autobiography, and the distinctions can get a little hazy. Most often, the former includes only a small part, a section of your life, written in a literary tone, while the latter more-or-less includes your entire life, or perhaps, significant parts of it written in volumes.
Through memoirs, people share a part of their lives with their readers, share their secrets, their observations, dreams, actions, and desires. There are several remarkable memoirs present in the literary world and including only a few would miss the vast heritage that remains unmentioned.
There are ample examples that you can easily find in your nearest library or over the Internet. In any case, memoirs are time capsules, and anyone can be a memoirist. Here are some writing tips and steps towards becoming one:
1)Your Life Need Not Be Dramatic:
Every moment, if lived to the fullest, is special.
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One of the most important characteristics of a memoir is that it reflects human lives through the eyes of the writer. Your life need not be dramatic, down-trodden, full of hardships or adventures for you to encapsulate that perfect story. Memoirs give you a chance to select a story from your life that you want to share and using words as your tools, you can build castles on clouds.
2) Reflect On Your Life:
A moment of reflection can conjure a thousand thoughts.
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Go back in time, through all the events that have led you to this moment in time. Think and recollect your struggles, your actions, and decisions. You can take help from your friend, family member, or your significant other who has watched you at some part or all of your life. With their help and your own, jot down the different major points in your history. If you put enough thought into this process, you will come up with some, if not many memories that have had a significant role to play in making you.
3) Converge And Structure:
Picking one among many can be tough.
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After you have come up with as many memories as possible, focus on one. Think about the time when you perhaps asked for your spouse’s hand in marriage or made up your mind about something that had a major impact on you.
Or perhaps the moment a thought came up in your brain. This point is what separates a memoir from a full-fledged autobiography. If your entire set of experiences is a haystack, a memoir merely grabs a strand.
4) Write All That You Felt:
Let your emotions flow.
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Memoirs are not simple accounts of an event. They are reflections of your thoughts and feelings at that particular point in time. If you are writing about attending a party, include not only what you ate and whom you met. Also, mention what emotions did your surrounding conjure. Were you comfortable? And why?
Include what you saw, what you were going through and most importantly, what you felt. Moreover, every moment teaches us something new and valuable in life; what did that moment teach you? There is a common saying when it comes to writing memoirs, “you should use all your senses,” not only the sense of sight.
5) Be Honest:
Honesty is indeed the best policy.
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It is natural to assume that not everyone will feel comfortable with you sharing your visceral experiences and thoughts in your memoirs. And not everyone is supposed to. Some people will be, in the least, shocked, perhaps at some of your revelations.
None-the-less, it is always a good decision to be truthful in your writing. Your writing will have ripples far beyond your words; perhaps your revelations about your hardships will raise enough concern to effect change.
Some readers will hate you, but in the end, all is forgiven since we are all humans, vulnerable to desire, suspectable to greed and power. But, it is better if you write your memoirs in a tone that inspires people, rather than making your writing a means to complain simply.
6) Help the Readers Visualize:
Fill your words with color.
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Often people wrap up their writing too quick, in an attempt to “tell” people what happened. However, a memoir will have a greater impact at touching people if you help your readers live that moment with you.
While focusing on what you thought and felt, give details so that your readers can visualize the place you were in, the person you were talking to or the object you were dealing with. Instead of saying, “... and I played basketball in the sun...” maybe say “... the sun was at its peak, and already, drops of sweat were forming on my forehead as I picked up the brown basketball and headed out onto the dingy court in my backyard...”
7. Frame Your Memoir Into A Journey:
A story is a journey in your mind.
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Use your words to your advantage, to take your reader on an emotional joyride, giving them tastes of hysterical comedy or heartbreaking sorrow or perhaps the heart-stopping mystery or even a heart-warming happiness.
As a memoirist, it is your aim to make your writing as enjoyable and exciting as possible. An excellent way to do this is to frame your experience in the form of a journey, with a beginning, slowly unraveling towards a climax. This makes your reader addicted to your memoir till they’ve read the final word!
8) Practice Makes A Man Perfect:
Practice till you perfect your art.
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It is often underrated, but practice does indeed make a man perfect. Write as frequently as possible, if possible write every day. Like any skill, the one to enchant a reader takes patience and needs to be developed.
Thus, set a target of at least 1000 words to write every day. The other way to improve your writing is to read what others have written. You must learn to walk before you can run.
In the end, memoir writing falls to let your reader feel your feelings for you. An excellent memoir is the product of deep reflection and gathers not only from what you saw but from all other senses that you have!