Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Keep Your Memoirs Free of Dangling Modifiers

To make your memoirs clear to the read, learn how to avoid misplaced modifiers in your writing.

Today I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I’ll never know. That old Groucho Marx joke perfectly illustrates what a dangling or misplaced modifier is. Many of you memoir writers have never written professionally or formally studied writing. To help you with your writing challenges, I promised this blog would address tricky grammar issues from time to time. So welcome to English class!

How could you rephrase Groucho’s statement to make it less ambiguous? Today, while still in my pajamas, I shot an elephant. That removes the ambiguity. While writing your memoirs, you might have a sentence like this: Not yet 10 years old, my parents’ divorce hit me hard. Do you see why that opening phrase dangles? The word you need after the comma must be “I??? to explain who was not yet 10 years old. The way it’s written, the divorce is what’s 10 years old.

Here’s another example: Walking through the dirty puddles, our shorts were splashed with clumps of mud. That indicates that your shorts were walking through the puddles, when really you were the ones walking. To fix it, you’d say: Walking through the dirty puddles, we splashed clumps of mud on our shorts. Learning this rule will help you to make your memoirs clear for the reader. For more on misplaced modifiers, check this link at infoplease.com.

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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!