Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Memoir Writing: Don't Gloss Over the Tough Stuff - Part II

No one knows your story like you do. However, reliving your past will raise memories that have been tucked away in the darkest corner of your mind. If you are driven to tell "your story" the darkest memories are what will drive it forward. They are the crux of your life. You learned and grew because of  them. They must be brought to the surface.

Read Laurie Rosin's full article "Full Disclosure" in Writer's Digest July/August 2010 issue and learn why full disclosure in a memoir is important. This is an eye opening article. Below are my notes.

Three Reasons to Disclose Painful Memories

1. Omissions can leave holes in your narrative.
Once you build the suspense to white knuckle level, you can't say "and next the police came". Whoaaa. I am at that point in my memoir. I have deep dark secrets I don't want my family to know but they need to know what shaped me and my readers deserve the full story.

2. Readers are drawn to authentic, motivated characters.
If your story is one you hope to encourage others with, tell the truth. Did you face a devastating rejection marring your sense of self worth for forty years, claim it. Your readers want a hero.

Laurie writes "First and foremost, remember that readers will be rooting for you. Memoirists are the protagonists of their own books."

3. Strong stories require dramatic unity.
It takes courage to relive traumatic events. When I write about my father's sudden death when I was sixteen and my first divorce at eighteen; it will be painful. Some memories are like snapshots in my mind. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". Don't hold back events that shaped you into the success you have become.

What's it all about-----?

Friday - Part III - Build your story around a Foolproof Framework


1 comment:

  1. Very good post. I am on a quest to find intelligent blogs and documenting my search. My next article on the subject was going to be about personal blogs. I think I'll link to your post. I think many writers could use a lesson in how to be creative and expressive (including me). Thanks!