Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Cryptic Advice For Memoir Writing Begs for Explanation

As I continue along my journey of applying Kurt Vonnegut’s rules for short story writing to writing memoirs, I’m a little confounded by number five:

Rule 5: Start as close to the end as possible.

Perhaps here is where a memoir and a short story part company. When you’re relating your entire life story, shouldn’t you start with your birth? Look at it another way. Your life really is a collection of stories—short stories, if you will. Each episode contains its own set of background facts and paths leading up to the action. The lesson from this rule is to lay out the information the reader needs without indulging yourself by providing more than that.

Think of the way you might tell a friend about something that once happened to you. The story is compelling, or you wouldn’t be talking about it. But the set-up—frequently that’s a lot less interesting. You begin telling your pal the whole “back story??? and, the further you proceed, the more restless your friend becomes until finally blurting out, “Just get to the point!??? Keep that impatience in mind as you take your readers along your life’s tale. By building story upon story, much of the background information will present itself. Start as close to the end of each episode as possible, and you’ll have a stronger autobiography than if you ramble around the middle.

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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!