If you’re stuck and can’t organize your memoir or develop a cohesive structure that fits for your particular life story, you might want to take an October 25 teleseminar offered by the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW). You are required to join NAMW at the regular annual fee of $149 in order to participate in the seminar, called “Are You Struggling with Your Memoir Structure?” (Write My Memoirs is not associated in any way with NAMW.) The seminar is conducted by Judy L. Mandel, author of Replacement Child—A Memoir.
Whether you take the seminar or not, within the course description are hints about what to think about as you begin writing:
- How to look objectively at your story structure
- Deciding what to leave in and what to leave out of your book
- What is your memoir ABOUT?
The seminar aims to provide participants with “clearer ideas about how to think about your memoir structure and learn how to make decisions about the structure that can work for your story.”
You can do a lot of this on your own. You don’t need a theme to your memoir, but it helps to have a direction and a purpose. What will be your memoir’s “takeaway”? That is, what do you want readers to conclude about you, learn from your experiences or view you perhaps differently from the way they thought of you before reading your story? In what order do you want them to read about your life? Addressing these questions before you start can make it easier for you to create your chapters and include all the relevant facts and thoughts without overwhelming the reader with extraneous information.