Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Vonnegut’s Rule 1: Don’t Waste the Reader’s Time

Use these guidelines to make sure your memoir is interesting enough that you’re not wasting readers’ time!

Last time, I listed celebrated author Kurt Vonnegut’s eight rules of fiction writing. Although your memoir is a work of nonfiction, these rules still can guide you in crafting a piece of writing that is interesting to read.

Rule 1: Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

For most of you, your memoir will not be read by strangers. However, your friends and relatives deserve just as much consideration! They’re interested in your life’s events but still do not want to have their time wasted. It’s important to remind yourself frequently of this rule. Since you’re writing your autobiography, apparently you feel that your life is interesting. Don’t make your memoir boring!

Include stories that your readers may not have heard before. These can be just small tales that you didn’t bother to tell people but now provide insight into who you are. Be candid about your emotional reactions to the events you recapture. Write in a compelling fashion to create a vivid picture of your early years so that your children and grandchildren will truly understand what it was like to grow up when you did. Describe in detail the visuals, sounds and smells. Mention what the weather was like on the day you’re recounting. Using these devices will keep your readers wanting to continue reading about your life and feeling that the hours they spend reading about you is time well-spent.

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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!