A memoir (noun) is a narrative crafted from personal experience or observation. It speaks highly of an intriguing event or time in the memoirist’s life. The word itself traces its origins to the French word mémoire, meaning reminiscence or memories.

Understanding The Differences

On most occasions, people use the words autobiography and memoir interchangeably; however, they’re like chalk and cheese. Firstly, an autobiography covers the author’s entire life story, while a memoir only discusses particulars.

Secondly, autobiographies are written chronologically; they progress from birth to the present day. While memoirs may also be composed chronologically, they frequently move back and forth in time and don’t follow linear patterns. Autobiographies emphasize history and facts, whereas memoirs reflect the writer’s ideology and emotional experiences.

Types Of Memoirs

Memoirs are known to take up three distinct forms, each with unique characteristics. Firstly, there’s the anthology, a collection of short stories following a theme. Next, short books of 10,000 to 30,000 words which work as a teaser or an extended version of the memoir. Lastly, personal essays emphasizing intimate details of an author’s life, while stating reasons for the decisions made throughout.

Likewise, there are different types of memoirs; the most common being:

Personal memoir is based on events or experiences that are anything but ordinary.

A portrait memoir is virtually the same as a personal memoir, except it’s written by a person who isn’t the memoir’s primary subject.

Travel memoir focuses on the traveling experiences of the writer.

A political memoir is written by someone who holds public office.

A public memoir is composed by a celebrity who wants to educate readers about what it’s like to be famous.

Confession memoir requires the writer to confess their sins and wrongdoings.

A spiritual quest memoir is written by a spiritual seeker who seeks meaning and purpose.

How To Write a Memoir

Regardless of the form or type of memoir you’re hoping to write, each one follows a specific pattern. Here are tips on writing a compelling memoir:

Narrow Your Focus

If a whole pie represented your life, your memoir would be a teeny tiny sliver of the entire thing. As a memoirist, you should be able to base an entire book on a snapshot from your experiences. The best strategy for finding a book theme is by making a timeline of life events. With all turning points laid out on a paper or typed down, you can easily spot the juiciest parts of your life and go along with a pick and choose approach. This is precisely what you want to write about to help you know yourself more deeply.

More Than Just Your Story

After you’ve narrowed your focus down to one event, you’ll have to think about your writing pursuit. Sure, it’s your memoir, but it needs to elaborate on related elements to build anticipation among readers.

For example, when writing a travel memoir, you could get away with stating events that occurred on the trip. But a better way to go about the subject is by stating what motivated you to take on this adventure. Furthermore, it could discuss your explorations and share interesting snippets about your interactions. The observations and vivid details of a situation contribute to the effectiveness of a memoir.

Speak The Truth

While it goes without saying, we’ll pen it down anyway: honesty is the best policy for your memoir. Sometimes, being genuine or honest may upset the people you’ve included in your story. But often powerful memoirs consist of such parables.

Only share an experience that readers can relate to. That said, it’s crucial never to write a memoir to seek revenge or forgiveness. Instead, recreate what happened while honoring the truth.

Put Readers in Your Shoes

Remember that as a memoirist, the purpose is to invite your readership into your perspective. But later, you’re expected to give them the freedom to draw their independent conclusions. You want to unfold your story before the eyes of the readers with the use of vivid language. Your readers should be able to visualize every scene and let their imaginations run amuck.

Employ Fiction

While a memoir is a non-fiction book, there’s no harm in spicing up your story with elements of fiction. This particularly applies to your characters because you want to evoke emotions in your readers for them. It could be love, hate, or anything in between.

To do so, elaborate details such as the character’s body language, movements, style, or tone. As long as it’s based on a true story, the tidbits of fiction will only make the memoir more enjoyable for the readers.

Craft Emotional Journeys

Make every possible attempt to leave your reader’s mouth open in awe, or leave them with teary eyes, you may even leave them in laughing hysterics. The best-case scenario would be incorporating all three elements into the story so that different parts of the book speak differently to the reader. Taking your readers on an emotional rollercoaster urges them to move on to the next chapter and keep discovering more and reading on. 

Showcase Personal Growth

To bring it all together, you want to showcase transformation, change, or growth in the leading character. This is a painstaking task that requires introspection in the form of self-reflection. For example, you may state the understanding of a concept that was unclear initially.

Hire Professional Memoir Writers in the USA

Why undergo the pains of having to write a memoir yourself when you have excellent memoir writing services at your disposal? Pair with Lincoln Writes for your next project today!

Our team of over 350 professional memoir writers and editors thrive on creativity, perfection, and innovation. We never compromise on privacy, customer satisfaction, timely delivery of content, and plagiarism-free content.

Apart from memoir writing services, Lincoln Writers also offers ghostwriting, book marketing and editing, eBook publishing, fiction, non-fiction, memoir, biography, and autobiography services. Consult an expert memoirist to get started.

The way Lincoln Writes sees it; it’s your story, originality, and brilliance; we’re simply adding the Midas touch to what’s already golden.