Yo LifeYour Life
as a Storyas a Story
Memoir Writing 101g
Melanie Rigney
A Bridge to PublicationA Bridge to Publication
No...
P inciples of Memoi W itingPrinciples of Memoir Writing
Memoir writing is the nonfiction form closest
to novel writing
 M...
Sta t ith the ActionStart with the Action
As with novel writing, you must begin with as t o e t g, you ust beg t a
problem...
M bl O i P hMemorable Opening Paragraphs
“I was sitting in a taxi wondering if I hadI was sitting in a taxi, wondering if ...
Truth in Memoir WritingTruth in Memoir Writing
Novelists have an advantage overg
memoirists: they don’t have to worry
as m...
What Is T th in Memoi ?What Is Truth in Memoir?
What if what you remember is hurtful
to other people?
When you write about...
What Is T th in Memoi ?What Is Truth in Memoir?
What if you’re just writing it to let off
steam?
Prepared for the Bridge t...
What Is T th in Memoi ?What Is Truth in Memoir?
What if you turn it into fiction?
 be aware that simply changing someone’...
What Is T th in Memoi ?What Is Truth in Memoir?
“As has been accurately revealed by two
journalists at an Internet Web sit...
What A e Yo Goals?What Are Your Goals?
Because of the potential to hurt yourself
and others, ask:
 Why am I writing this?...
Reso cesResources
Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer
The Writer’s Journey by Chris VoglerThe Writer s Journey by Chris ...
Q estions?Questions?
Thanks for coming!
Melanie Rigney
Editor@editorforyou comEditor@editorforyou.com
Prepared for the Bri...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Your Life as a Story: Memoir Writing 101

652 views

Published on

Principles of memoir writing - from the initial revelation that memoir writing is the nonfiction form closest to novel writing - to a reminder that they are NOT fiction. Remember, you're writing about real events and real people - avoid possible libel issues. More tips and techniques!

Published in: Education, Business
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
652
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
21
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
21
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Your Life as a Story: Memoir Writing 101

  1. 1. Yo LifeYour Life as a Storyas a Story Memoir Writing 101g Melanie Rigney A Bridge to PublicationA Bridge to Publication November 14, 2009
  2. 2. P inciples of Memoi W itingPrinciples of Memoir Writing Memoir writing is the nonfiction form closest to novel writing  Memoirs must have a beginning, middle, and end.  They must tell a compelling story about a life- changing time if they are to be commerciallychanging time if they are to be commercially successful.  Because their benefit is somewhat intangible, the experience or the writing must be earthshattering. Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 2
  3. 3. Sta t ith the ActionStart with the Action As with novel writing, you must begin with as t o e t g, you ust beg t a problem; watch the tendency to give too much background. Let the story unfold from the point of crisisthe point of crisis. Every scene must move the story along to its logical, satisfying conclusion. Watch thelogical, satisfying conclusion. Watch the tendency to include everything that happened. Show, don’t tell. Write in the moment. Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 3
  4. 4. M bl O i P hMemorable Opening Paragraphs “I was sitting in a taxi wondering if I hadI was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster. It was just after dark A blustery March wind whippedIt was just after dark. A blustery March wind whipped the stream coming out of the manholes, and people hurried along the sidewalks with their collars turned up I was stuck in traffic two blocks from the partyup. I was stuck in traffic two blocks from the party where I was heading.” “I wake to the drone of an airplane engine and the f li f thi d i i d hi ”feeling of something warm dripping down my chin.” “My father and mother should have stayed in New York where they met and married and where I was Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 4 y born.”
  5. 5. Truth in Memoir WritingTruth in Memoir Writing Novelists have an advantage overg memoirists: they don’t have to worry as much about including real people in their storiestheir stories. Libel/defamation hold people up to public ridicule. And generally, especially for public ffi i l if i ’ bl i iofficials, if it’s provably true—conviction, arrest record, and the like—you’re safe. You cannot libel a dead person But in someYou cannot libel a dead person. But in some circumstances, their estates or survivors may sue you if your work opens them, not the dead person up to ridicule Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 5 person, up to ridicule.
  6. 6. What Is T th in Memoi ?What Is Truth in Memoir? What if what you remember is hurtful to other people? When you write about private citizens, you are also open to the possibility ofyou a e a so ope to t e poss b ty o invasion of privacy suits, even if what you write is true.you te s t ue Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 6
  7. 7. What Is T th in Memoi ?What Is Truth in Memoir? What if you’re just writing it to let off steam? Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 7
  8. 8. What Is T th in Memoi ?What Is Truth in Memoir? What if you turn it into fiction?  be aware that simply changing someone’sp y g g name or not being a best-seller doesn’t protect you from litigation.  You need to be sure the person is so different from real life as to not be i bl t l h ld krecognizable to people who would know him or her. Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 8
  9. 9. What Is T th in Memoi ?What Is Truth in Memoir? “As has been accurately revealed by two journalists at an Internet Web site, and b tl k l d d b d isubsequently acknowledged by me, during the process of writing the book, I embellished many details about my past experiences andmany details about my past experiences, and altered others in order to serve what I felt was the greater purpose of the book. Ig p p sincerely apologize to those readers who have been disappointed by my actions.” Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 9
  10. 10. What A e Yo Goals?What Are Your Goals? Because of the potential to hurt yourself and others, ask:  Why am I writing this?  Who do I want to read this?  What do I want the reader to feel/know that he or she didn’t before picking up my memoir?  What makes my experience special? Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 10
  11. 11. Reso cesResources Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer The Writer’s Journey by Chris VoglerThe Writer s Journey by Chris Vogler Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald MaassMaass National Association of Memoir Writers (www namw org)(www.namw.org) Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 11
  12. 12. Q estions?Questions? Thanks for coming! Melanie Rigney Editor@editorforyou comEditor@editorforyou.com Prepared for the Bridge to Publication Conference, November 2009. Please do not copy or redistribute without permission: info@editorforyou.com 12

×