Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Everyone Wants Something!

Wants and needs are important to express in your memoir.

In applying some general writing rules to your memoirs, I’m up to Rule 3 of Kurt Vonnegut’s eight rules for writing a short story.

Rule 3: Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

This rule makes me laugh. I think Vonnegut is saying that you shouldn’t bring in characters unless you give the reader some understanding of what motivates that character and what that person is seeking. I’m not sure this applies to an autobiography, though. In fiction, you have more of a choice about introducing and developing characters than you do as a narrator of a true life story. For example, you may name a grandparent who died when you were too young to recall a lot about the person, and you can’t just make it up! You may talk about a teacher in terms of how that person impacted your life, but you’re not really concerned with the teacher’s own needs and desires.

What I think you can take from this rule, though, is to be open and analytical about what you want at each stage of your life. Don’t just describe what happens; clarify what you hoped would happen, what you wanted to get from your relationships and why you pursued the goals you did. If you also feel it’s useful to flesh out some of the other people in your life, keep in mind Vonnegut’s third rule of delving into those people’s dreams and expectations.

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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!