Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Avoid Redundancy in Your Memoir

Sharpen your writing by eliminating common phrases that are inherently redundant.

Every so often I like to use the blog for a mini grammar lesson. With references to “PIN numbers” and “ATM machines” tossed around all the time, let’s discuss redundancy. You want every page of your memoir to be compelling, and filling space with excess words does not meet that goal. Here are some common redundant phrases you should avoid:

Autobiography of my life. If it’s anyone else’s life, the term is “biography.”
Basic fundamentals. If they’re not basic, they’re not fundamentals.
Completely eliminated. Yes, that’s the meaning of “eliminated.”
Estimated to be about. “Estimated” or “about”—you don’t need both.
Fellow classmates/colleagues. There’s no need for “fellow.”
Free gift. It wasn’t a gift if you had to pay for it.
Future plans. We rarely make plans for the past.
Kneel down. It goes without saying that you’re not kneeling up or laterally.
May/might possibly. The uncertainty is built into the word “may” or “might,” so you can drop “possibly.”
New innovation. An innovation is, by definition, always new.
Pre-planning. How did this ever come into use?
Unintentional mistake. They’re called “mistakes” because they’re unintentional!
Very unique. If you’re correctly using “unique” to indicate something that’s truly one-of-a-kind, you won’t need to qualify it.

And what about your PIN number and the ATM machine? Spell out the acronym, and you’ll see the redundancy: Personal Identification Number number and Automatic Teller Machine machine. Similarly, refer to your GPS system as just a GPS.

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Then just set up a chapter and start writing your memoir. Don’t worry about rules. There are no rules to writing your memoir; there are only trends. These trends are based on techniques and features identified in current top-selling memoirs. At best, they’re the flavor of the month. If you’re capturing your life in print for your family, for your own gratification or to inspire readers, rather than aiming to set off Hollywood screenplay bidding wars, these trends don’t even apply to you. You’ll write the memoir that suits you best, and it will be timeless, not trend-driven.There are no rules, but there are four steps:

1. Theme/framework
2. Writing
3. Editing/polishing
4. Self-publishing

You’ve researched this, too, and you’ve been shocked at the price for getting help with any one of those steps, much less all four. That’s because most memoir sites promise to commercialize your work. They’ll follow a formula based on current memoir trends, because they want to convince you that they can turn your memoir into a best-seller. These sites overwhelm you with unnecessary information not to help you, the memoir author, but to address Search Engine Optimization (SEO) algorithms so they can sell more.

That’s not what we do at Write My Memoirs. Our small community of coaches, writers and editors are every bit as skilled as any you’ll find, and we charge appropriately for their expertise and the time they’ll spend helping you craft a compelling, enjoyable read. But you won’t pay an upcharge for other websites’ commercialization, the marketing that follows, and the pages of intimidating “advice.” You can sell your book if you like—we have ISBNs available for you—but our organic process of capturing your story takes a noncommercial path.

If you want help with any or all of the four steps above, choose from our services or save money by selecting one of our packages. If you’d like to talk about what’s right for you, schedule a call. One year from now, you can be holding your published memoir in your hand. And at that point, it will be a big deal!