What is a memoir? En Français: mémoire (memory or reminiscence) A literary genre, subclass of autobiography. An account of ones personal life and experiences.
Memoir vs. Autobiography Memoir Autobiography Structure Vignettes Novel Focus Theme Entire life story Chronology Flexible Birth to old age
Memoir vs. Diary Memoir Diary Focus on plot lines Record of events, and patterns. observations. Written with scenes. Kept daily. Audience = others. Audience = self.
Why Write a Memoir? Fame and old age Desire to leave a legacy or share a story To reflect
Why Not to Publish a Memoir Because, sadly, yo u’re probably not famous.
Famous Memoirists Past: Cassanova, St. Augustine, Jean- Jacques Rousseau Present: Joan Didion
Memoir Topics Specific moment or event that influenced a thought or epiphany Recurring theme or motif in your life Family background, relationships
Writing Tips Show, don’t tell. Details, details, details. Use different senses to describe. Write like you talk. Use simple sentences. Start in the middle. Read what you wrote out loud.
Six Word Memoir Online fad Summerize your life, or an event in six words“I learned laughter is a language.”
Suggested Topics A childhood memory The best day of your life (or the worst) Recent trip or vacation Relationship with parents, children, friends, boyfriend or girlfriend What did you do yesterday? What have you learned recently? Your hobbie