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  • Shelly Powell

Tips On How To Write A Memoir

Let’s face it, there is a huge market for books based on true stories. So memoirs are even better!

Here are some tips to consider when writing a memoir.

Narrow Your Focus

Your memoir should be written as if the entire book is a snapshot of a theme in your life. It should not include every waking moment unless it applies to the theme.

For example…meeting an ex from hell, surviving a life-threatening illness, overcoming depression triggered by a life-changing event.

Choosing to write a book, or in this case, a memoir about your entire story when you are an unknown person could lead to limited sales and a disjointed book.

For nonfiction books you can still use this resource: The Page By Page Character Development Worksheet & Workbook

Include Multiple But Connecting Storylines

If you were writing a memoir about surviving a life-changing illness, you would include the people who helped or made matters worse.

In other words, even a memoir focused on you, is not about just you.

What were the events leading up to the theme in focus? Where were you working? Who were your coworkers? A memoir should still include supporting characters.

Tell The Truth Or Don’t Bother

The biggest mistake you can make is to write a memoir where you are either solely the victim or are unaware of decisions that could possibly bring on the theme or make matters worse.

As a result, one of the greatest tips for how to write a memoir that pays is to be honest and be authentic. This is easier said than done because some writers don’t want to upset friends and family members.

So if you aren’t ready to be truthful with your memoir don’t start.

Save your time.

Use Fiction To Bring Your Book To Life

Think of the people in your memoir as characters. With real feelings and drives.

Remember that even newspaper outlets create articles to appeal to those who want a good story. So in your memoir you will need a protagonist which will more than likely be you. An antagonist, even if it’s the situation, would be great.

You’ll also need what is known as the catalyst moment or an event in which your life changed.

Make It Emotional

Leave your readers in awe by making them laugh, cry, and have sympathy for the journey and your main character.

Consider elements of suspense speckled throughout your novel that led up to trigger points that increase tension even more.

Most people know the ending but it doesn’t have to be predictable.

Let Us See The Main Character’s Arch

By the end of your memoir, we must see growth and change. This doesn’t mean that the main character gets what he or she wants but they must be different than they were in the beginning of the memoir.

If you’re writing your memoir about overcoming an illness, even if the illness has not vanished, what have you learned in the journey?

If you were in a toxic relationship what could’ve been done differently? Were there signs that could have taken you on a different road?

At the end of the day a memoir is a road map and should feel complete.

Does yours?

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