Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Vonnegut’s Rule 2: Get Readers on Your Side

Write in a compelling way that gets readers rooting for you to come out on top.

We’re on to Rule 2 of Kurt Vonnegut’s eight rules for writing a short story, which I’m tweaking to apply to your nonfiction memoirs.

Rule 2: Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

Since you’re the protagonist of your autobiography, I think this is an easy rule to follow! You probably are presenting yourself in a favorable light; I doubt that you’re writing an entire memoire from a self-loathing perspective. You’re a naturally sympathetic character!

But there’s still a writing lesson here. It has more to do with the way you should be building a little suspense. How do you get your readers to “root??? for you? Craft a narrative that maps out how you overcame adversity, reached a tough goal, triumphed over a rival or confronted a demon. Examples include conquering an addiction, repairing an important relationship or working to achieve a rags-to-riches fairytale. Any accomplishment that took a bit of blood, sweat and tears can work. Something as simple as winning a local sports events will be riveting if you write it with that “root for me??? approach in mind. So do not interpret this rule to mean that your autobiography should not reveal your flaws. In fact, the rule indicates quite the opposite: showing your darker side and your struggles, and then examining how you got through them and worked toward light, will have readers rooting for you all the way.

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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!