Want to learn how to write a memoir?
Then this post is just for you.
Though writing a memoir seems easy, it is one of the most complex pieces of work.
Which means how to write a memoir is somewhat more difficult than it seems.
But don’t worry.
In this post, I will explain each and every aspect so you can write a perfect memoir.
Table of Contents
What Is A Memoir?
A memoir is a French word that means a collection of different memories written by an individual that has occurred in their own life.
These memories can be various events or memories that the individual has in a public or private scenario.
The different situations that are given in the work are supposed to be real facts that have occurred with the individual.
The memoir definition states that there are two kinds of memoirs which are autobiographical and nonfiction.
However, an autobiographical memoir is not the same as an autobiography but goes on the same lines.
Memoirs are primary memories that have occurred in your life over the years. You would form a connected story based on those memories.
How to Start A Memoir?
The way to start a memoir can confuse even the best of writers.
Things can become very confusing if the writer has an abundance of memories or events worth sharing during his childhood.
The numerous memories can leave the writer very rattled about what, to begin with.
Therefore, to start a memoir, sometimes expert help is needed.
If the writer is writing a memoir for the first time, then the advice would be much appreciated.
The writer can also read the works of some of the great writers so that they can receive the due pointers on how to start their memoir.
The thought of writing a memoir can only occur when you feel that you have enough events in your life, which would become a good book.
The idea could strike when you have a special event occurring which could change your life significantly.
You could start by writing down all the memorable events that you have in your life.
Take a notebook and write down all of the events that you feel are significant in your life.
The most complicated thing about memory is that it can come back at sudden times.
That is why it is better to keep the notebook with you, so that you write down the memory whenever you recall it.
Once you keep track of all the memories, you will find that you have scraps of descriptions and essays.
You would have to know the correct way to put all the information together.
Take all the information together and pile it all up so that you can start something with it.
The first line of the memoir should be quite attractive so that it catches the attention of the reader.
You can write the first line as a quote, which is vital to you or plays a significant in your life.
Along with the first line, the last line of the memoir is also crucial.
It should be able to summarize the whole memoir.
Make sure that it reflects the entire memoir that you have written and stands up to the standard of your memoir.
Examples of Memoirs
Writing a memoir can be quite a hard task, and you might need help for the same. Certain memoirs have already been written, which will be able to provide you with guidance.
Below are certain examples of good memoirs.
- My Pursuit of Happiness
- A Revolution at School
- One Hour to Remember
- Dreams from My Father
- Eat, Pray, Love
The above-mentioned memoir examples are what good memoirs can be like.
These memoirs will help young budding writers to start their memoirs without any issue on their part.
How to Write A Memoir About Someone Else?
Writing your memoir can be quite easy as compared to writing a memoir for someone else.
Many writers help their loved ones in writing their memoirs.
Not everyone can be a writer and write your memoir.
This is why they tend to tell people they know, who are writers, to write a memoir for them.
These writers have to write a memoir for someone else which would need immense effort since writing the memories of someone else would take a great deal of effort.
You will not be able to make a complete memoir if you are not able to understand the situation of the other person.
To start writing a memoir for someone else, you would have to know in detail about the different situations in their life.
You would have to sit with them to know about the various events in their life. Make sure that you help them recall every important event that has occurred.
Sit down with them and note down all the important events that have occurred with them.
It is better not to rush through the work. Otherwise, you might get some facts wrong.
Always double check the facts so that everything you write is correct.
You can search on the internet for questions that you would ask the person whose memoir you are writing.
These questions should be formulated in such a way that they extract almost all events from the life of the individual.
Get all the answers to your questions and make detailed notes before you pile them up for the final draft.
Writing a memoir for someone else is a huge responsibility, one that should be taken very seriously.
There are certain things that you should keep in mind while writing a memoir, such as deciding who the narrator should be.
You could be the narrator as you are the author, or the person whose memoir you are writing can be the narrator.
The most important thing is that you have to maintain the secrecy of the individual until you have released the book.
And moreover, you would have to ensure that you do not publish or write something that the individual does not want you to.
What Are the Steps to Write A Memoir?
While writing a memoir, there are certain steps that you have to follow.
These steps should individually be followed to make a complete memoir.
Write a memoir step by step by following the below mentioned tips:
1. Determine The Reason For The Memoir
The first step to write a memoir is that you have to determine the actual cause for writing the memoir.
The reason could anything, such as leaving behind a legacy for a future generation or to get closure.
The reasons could be many, and knowing the right reason helps write the memoir correctly.
Moreover, finding the correct reason would act as an excellent motivator for writing your memoir.
2. Choose The Time That You Want To Write About
There are different periods in your life, such as your childhood, your adolescence, and many other periods of your life.
If you wish to write about the adventurous part of your life, then you can do the same.
You can choose more than one-time frame but ensure that they can be connected.
3. Form A Timeline For The Time Period
Once you have chosen the time period, the next step would be to form a timeline.
Draw the timeline properly and label them properly so that it becomes easy for you to write the memoir.
The timeline can be quite lengthy, depending on the period that you have chosen for yourself.
4. Label The Major Events
After you draw the timeline, you should label the important events that have occurred during that timeline.
The special events that are memorable and need to be written down in the book should be mentioned in chronological order.
These would help you in the writing process.
5. Find A Theme For Your Memoir
You would have to choose a theme based on which you can write your book.
The memoir can be based on love or any change in your life.
Choosing the theme to become important since the book needs to be based on one idea.
The audience should be able to understand what they are reading.
They should not get confused as to what they are reading or what is the idea of the book.
6. Start Writing The Memoir
After these steps, it is now time to start your memoir.
This should be done without further delay.
Start compiling all your notes so that you can begin writing your memoir.
Dedicate some time every day so that you write at least something.
You can dedicate 15 minutes or even 2 hours every day for writing your memoir.
Once you start writing, then you would automatically able to form ideas and go on with your memoir.
The mind will start working on its own and will be able to segregate all the ideas so that you can form a concrete memoir.
Key Elements of a Memoir
Writing a memoir can be a very tricky thing since there is a lot of personal events indulged in it.
Writing personal aspects of your life can be quite hard to write and let people read.
You would have to find the right words that would be able to connect with the audience.
The story that you wish to tell should be able to reach the audience in the right way.
You would have to accumulate years of memories and events that hold an important place in your life and put in on paper.
There are certain elements that you would need to keep in mind while writing a memoir.
The key elements are as follows:
1. Choose The Theme Of Your Memoir
Choosing the theme of your memoir is the first thing that you would have to do.
This is because a memoir should not just contain facts about your life; otherwise, it would be termed as an autobiography.
The simple difference between an autobiography and a memoir is that there is
a theme that surrounds a memoir.
The memoir would state the stories along with your personal experience.
2. List All The Memories Of Your Life
The next element is that you would need to accumulate all the memories that you have had in your life.
After deciding on the theme of your memoir, you would need to recall all the
memories in your life.
Start from your childhood, then school, college, first love, family life, and all other associated memories.
3. Add Experiences With Other People
A memoir is normally a story that is related to you; however, you can always add stories that are associated with other people.
They can serve as a backup for other stories that you have in your memoir.
You would have to make the existence of other people prominent so that the
authentication of the events reaches the audience.
This would also help the audience to feel a connection with you and the other characters in your life.
4. Write Facts
This is an essential thing that you would have to always keep under consideration.
You should always write facts in the memoir.
Even though this is a hard part, you would have to write all your faults even if they are drastic.
Once you have decided to write your memoir, you should be sure that you are ready to share your true story.
Writing true facts would also mean that you can form a deeper connection with the audience.
5. Help Them Picture Your Story
This element does not mean that you would have to draw pictures in your books.
When you are writing a story, you ensure that the audience can picture the story when they read it.
Write in such a way that the audience can go deep into the memoir and live the life that you have lived.
6. You Should Be Vulnerable To Your Audience
Memoirs are supposed to extract your vulnerable side to the audience.
You should never shy away from the audience and make sure that you are open about all your inner feelings.
If you do not do so, then the audience will not be able to understand your story.
This is why be vulnerable in your memoir so that the audience can feel your deeper emotions.
This way, they will love reading your memoir since it will hold a personal place in their life.
7. Make Sure That Your Stories Are Connected
When you build your story, make sure that each part of your event is connected.
Do not just fill in all your memories one after the other.
Develop connectivity within the stories so that the audience does not lose the link between your stories.
Connectivity has to be there so that it becomes a continuous story and a complete one as well.
Connecting the dots is very necessary so that there is completeness.
8. Look Back Onto Your Life And Talk About It
While writing a memoir, you would have to look back on everything that has happened in your life.
Make the audience understand what has made you the person that you are today.
This means that your memoir will hold all the inside details of your life.
Every memory that you have written in your book should help the audience connect with the past and the present.
9. Make sure that the book reveals your true personality
The book should be able to reveal the personality that you have.
The pages should be able to showcase the people who you are.
Whatever your personality is, the book should be filled with it.
If you are a humorous person, then your book should contain jokes.
If you have any personal lingo that your use, you can write the same on your book.
No matter how you speak, that should be delivered onto the book.
10. Write A Book That You Would Want To Read
Make sure that the book you have written is liked by you first.
The structure of the book should be such that you would want to read it.
Only construct something that you would want if written by someone else.
If you have a well-structured book, then you will be able to go a far way.
What Makes A Good Memoir?
Creating a good memoir is very important, and to have a good memoir, there are certain things that the writer would have to remember.
The writer should be vulnerable but should not whine in the memoir.
If you are a writer, you should be able to pour your heart out to the audience.
The audience should be able to connect immensely with you but should not be bored with your memoir.
You should be respectful towards your audience and make sure that you do not use language that may seem offensive to the audience.
A good memoir needs the writer to do enough research so that the book is fulfilling.
The writer should be able to fill the book with the right story connection.
The book should be complete and should also have exciting fillers such as personal interviews and some fun events.
Write a wonderful memoir which will be able to revolve around the central theme which you have chosen for yourself.
The memoir should be completely able to capture the attention of the audience and astound them completely.