Tips For Exploring Some Memoir Topics In-Depth

Structure and organization can be the most challenging aspects of writing memoirs. Even if you do it the easiest way—start from birth and carry through chronologically until present day—you may hit topics that you want to explain more thoroughly. How do you do that?

Let’s say you want to indicate that the strongest influence on you was your father. It’s okay to take a few pages to talk about your dad even though it means mixing up the chronology. Maybe you mention the time he took you to your first major league baseball game. You talk about your experience at the ballpark, and then you can write something like, “Looking at my dad that day, I couldn’t foresee the impact he would have on my life. His love of collecting alone influenced my own dozen collections over the years.??? And you could continue with your career choice or anything else that reflected your father’s influence. It doesn’t all have to go in order.

Or maybe you had a childhood friend who was very important during your early years but not later in your life. If you want to let your readers know what happened to that friend, you can write about how the friend’s life turned out as you’re writing about your childhood together. You don’t have to wait until later in the book when it would be in context chronologically. As you write your memoirs, you’ll get more skilled at finessing the organization of the material you’re presenting.