Generating Ideas for Personal Memoirs
Thank you for giving the link to your talk on you tube which makes very interesting listening. I have considered all you have said about writing a memoir and am currently deciding what my focus is going to be.
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We write personal non-fiction essays, memoir and autobiography not to gaze at our belly buttons and muse over how wonderful or awful our lives are, but to put down our own small, individual truth. This happened to me, these are the specific details and feelings of that time in my life and this is where I ended up. With a personal essay this can be a very short event, a single incident; one traumatic experience that taught you a life lesson, or maybe something trivial that frustrated you and becomes humorous in the writing of it. The memoir, as William Zinsser says, is a window into a life. Writing a memoir gives you the opportunity to explore a unique period in your life, to make order and sense out of it. An autobiography, your entire life up until this moment, can be a transformation of the messiness of daily life into a valuable piece of family history.
personal memoir essay - Template
The following excerpt from Wole Soyinka's (Nigerian Nobel Laureate) Why Do I Fast? is an example of a personal essay. What follows is a short discussion of Soyinka's essay.
Looking for personal memoir essay images
One question we all face when writing non-fiction about our life is how creative can you be with the truth? I believe the best way you can answer this question is from your own expectations as a reader. When I read a memoir or personal essay my expectations are far different than when I read fiction. John Gardner once said that when you write fiction you're inviting the reader into a fictional dream; you read fiction with suspended disbelief. You tell me that some guy wakes up as a cockroach and if you have the details down, some kind of emotional truth to that situation, I'll believe it. Just as I believed Kafka. I know it's made up, I know it's a lie to get at a larger truth, so I suspend my disbelief, and enter the writer's dream world.
but not all autobiographical writing follows the criteria for memoir
But when I read personal non-fiction I'm coming at it from another direction: I believe this really happened. There's a kind of vulnerability when you read like that. I invest my belief in this truth, so that if I ever find out it didn't happen that way in the writer's life, there wasn't the fellow in the cowboy boots who made pancakes for supper, or the cat who answered the phone by knocking the receiver off the hook, if the writer invented these details, I feel ripped off. And this is the way I approach it as a writer. If I say I'm writing non-fiction, I'm telling you it's the truth. This really happened and I'm remembering it to the best of my ability, and that's all any of us can do.
Writing Personal Essays Memoirs - sharepoint …
When you write memoir, an essay, or your autobiography, your characters are real. It really is your mother, the person you divorced, your partner, your teenager, your best friend. And you worry: what will they think of having some intimate detail of their own life exposed? Every writer needs to come up with his or her own guidelines for how to write truthfully about those closest to you. I figure that my husband married me knowing I was a writer and that he was fair game as my material. On the other hand, my daughters and their families, and my stepchildren, didn't sign up for the role of writer's kid so I try not to reveal anything personal about them that might cause them embarrassment.
Memoir vs. Personal Narrative - YouTube
This class is designed for those who have already explored the basics of personal writing and wish to move on to a larger project or more challenging forms. Participants can choose one of two paths, working either on sections of a memoir or on personal essays in a variety of styles. Class members will learn how to structure their chapters or essays, how to incorporate research into personal writing, how to develop character, how to use descriptive language effectively, and more. We will examine personal essays and memoir chapters from published authors to analyze their writing techniques, and discuss ways to use those techniques in our own writing. If participants wish to submit work that does not strictly fit the assignments given they can arrange to do so with the instructor.