Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Putting Other People in Your Memoir

Your story is yours to tell, and no one can take that away from you. But everyone’s story involves other people. It’s very common for memoir authors to be concerned about their rights and obligations surrounding the role other people have played in their lives, especially if the memoir depicts a negative impact. We’ve addressed this issue previously on Write My Memoirs here and here.

So we’ve talked about legal aspects, but what about the ethical ones? And how will your memoir change your relationships? Even the relatives you didn’t include may be upset with you about what you did write. Your aunt, not mentioned at all in your memoir, may never speak to you again because you wrote negatively about your mother, who was her sister. Perhaps your mother is no longer alive, and your aunt feels that you shouldn’t write about someone who cannot defend herself. Or maybe even though your memoir concerns your early life, your current adult children would prefer you to keep your story to yourself. Perhaps they’re embarrassed by something you’ve written, or they don’t want to be forced to become public figures if your book sells well.

Memoir authors and coaches have opinions all across the board on this, but I haven’t seen anyone make the point that social media has completely changed this game. You have chosen the memoir as your forum. You’ll have it in book form, or ebook only or whatever you want. But everyone who objects to what you’ve written has many opportunities to refute what’s in your book. Facebook, Twitter and the rest provide a forum for everyone. As long as you write the truth as you know it—and it’s a good idea to have some sort of disclaimer saying in your book that the information is accurate to the best of your memory—then you should present your life the way you want. Be prepared for some pushback, but this is your story. The other people can tweet about it to defend themselves.

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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!