A common question authors have about memoir is whether they’re writing a true memoir or an autobiography. At Write My Memoirs, we don’t make much of a distinction. If you’re writing about your life, you’re writing about your life. Call it a memoir, autobiography, life history—we don’t think it matters much.
But authors continue to want to know how to label their book, so here’s a little quiz for you to take to reveal whether, according to conventional thinking, you’re writing a memoir or an autobiography.
Answer TRUE or FALSE:
- My story begins with my birth and continues to present day.
- My primary goal in writing my book is to provide information for my children and grandchildren to “know where they come from.”
- I would like generations in the future to have a reliable record of what life was like growing up when and where I grew up, as well as what adulthood was like during my lifetime.
- Even though my life hasn’t been that unusual, I want to get all the facts down.
- I want to tell all about my life in my own voice.
- The hurdles I overcame in my life holds lessons for other people.
- Even though I am not yet 50 years old, I want to write my book now.
- I will devote much of my book to one part of my life that was very unusual.
- Something happened to me that I feel compelled to write about.
- Everyone asks me about one episode in my life, so I decided to write about that.
As you may have figured out, this list of 10 questions starts heavy on autobiography and progresses incrementally to memoir.
Give yourself 1 point for each time you answered TRUE to questions 1 through 4.
Give yourself 2 points for each time you answered TRUE to questions 5 and 6.
Give yourself 3 points for each time you answered TRUE to questions 7 through 10.
1-8: Your book is an autobiography.
9-16: Your book is more of a memoir.
17-20: Your book may not have enough of a theme. Rethink whether you want to focus on one part of your life or write a comprehensive book that gives relatively equal treatment to all parts of your life.
Hope this helps! At Write My Memoirs, we want to help you write and publish the best book you can have to represent your perspective of your life.