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How to Write a Memoir

A memoir is a personal account of a person’s life. Memoirs can be either fictional or non-fictional. A non-fictional memoir is made up of actual events recounted in first person by the author. Examples of non-fictional memoirs include William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade, or George Plimpton’s The Art of the Deal. On the other hand, a fictional memoir uses the author’s imagination to create an account of a real person’s life, as in Mario Vargas Llosa’s Death in the Andes, or The Lost Memoir of Alfred Dreyfus. The main difference between these two types of memoirs is that non-fictional ones are usually more factual and detailed, while fictional ones are generally more imaginative and polished.

If you’re interested in writing a memoir, here are some tips on how to get started.

Find Your Voice

One of the first things you need to do is find your voice. What is your narrative voice? Where do you come from? What is your life story like? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you start writing. Some people find that writing in the third person is the most effective way to write a memoir. It allows you to present yourself as an impartial observer, rather than a participant in your own story. This can be a useful technique for keeping your audience engaged as you write about your life. It can also cause you to be a bit more objective in your approach to events that you experience. If you’re worried that you’ll be tempted to favor your own point of view, then employing this narrative technique may be the key to keeping your personal memories fresh and compelling.

Start Small

When you’re starting out as a writer, it’s important to take your time and do whatever it takes to get your work published. This means that you should start small and work your way up to bigger projects. If you have a number of short stories or articles published online, then this is a good place to start building your portfolio. Writing awards and fellowships are also great ways to gain experience and test the market for your work. Most importantly, when you start out, don’t be discouraged by negative responses – take them as constructive criticism. Remember: this is new territory for you, and no one is going to be easy on you. Your first few attempts at writing may not be perfect, but as long as you’re trying, you’re making progress.

When you feel like your work is ready, take some time off and then submit it to some literary magazines or anthologies. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some feedback, and from there, you can build something great.

Get Feedback

It’s important to get feedback on your work, both positive and negative. The former will help you identify areas for improvement, while the latter can provide valuable insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your writing. If you don’t have any contacts who are published writers, then consider looking for a critique group or studying the works of master poets and novelists to see how they construct a story and verse.

Find Your Niche

Once you’ve found your voice, gotten some feedback, and started to build a portfolio, the next step is to find your niche. What is your niche? What subject matter do you enjoy writing about the most? It can be anything from cooking to history to science to sports. The important thing is to find something that you enjoy writing about and that has not been covered by other writers already. Once you’ve found your niche, lock it in your mind and avoid writing about anything else – you’ll be tempted to write about everything, and that’s what will make your work dull. Having a niche will also provide you with a clear focus for your work, something that can be difficult to maintain when you’re writing about many different areas of interest.

A good way to find your niche is to look for the subjects that you’re passionate about. If you’re interested in writing about food, then consider all things culinary. If you are interested in writing about science, then look for research papers on various scientific topics. If you’re interested in history, then look for historical novels and non-fiction works that you enjoy reading. These are all areas that you can write about, and if you enjoy writing about them, then you’ll be able to find your niche.

Follow The Rules Of Good Style

Now that you have your niche, you can start to follow the rules of good style. These are simply the guidelines that your chosen writers’ organization or conference might set down for you when they judge your work. For example, the Chicago Manual of Style suggests that you avoid using the first person as a narrative voice – instead, try using an impersonal third-person point of view. The same goes for present tense verbs – instead of the past tense, which is what you’d use if you were recounting an event that had already happened.

Another thing you might be asked to do is polish your work – make it easier for the reader by cutting down on the excess verbiage. Some people might also suggest you shorten your sentences or add a bit more clarity to your writing. Rewriting is also a good idea, as it will help you ensure that your work is free of any errors. You should take this step before you send it to the publisher – otherwise, you may end up with something that isn’t up to par.

In order to find your voice and the rules of good style, it can be helpful to read some classic works of fiction and non-fiction. These are all great places to find examples of properly written storytelling, and you can use this as a platform to find your own voice and the rules of good style. You don’t have to be limited by what others consider to be good style – as a writer, you have that power!