Skip Nav

Focus On: The Memoir Essay

Finding Your Material

❶Create a Memoir Outline. Decide how you would like to present your memory:

Character Worksheets

Sample Memoir Essays Written by High School Students (from Scholastic Magazines)
Contact us
What is a memoir essay?

I am thinking seriously that he had good points and a memoir as opposed to creative non fiction is the only way that would make sense. I need to know how the professional writer can work with me as I already have a manuscript. Who will be the author of the Book? Do you give advice? My memoir is of an unusual friendship that continued over four decades.

He was my Bible professor my freshman year. This week someone said I needed to put in tension. As near as I can tell, the tension was all in me. To further my dilemma, I am close to approaching Consequently, time, my time, is of the essence for me. Thanks for reading this. Marilyn LaRonde Just in case: Congrats to you on writing your story. I suggest looking at story structure first. The Story Grid is a great way to delve into structure as well as editing.

A suggestion not here on the list: Frame your story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Start with dramatizing the inciting incident of the story, what kicks off the story in a big way, the punch to the gut. Complicate the story progressive problems. The challenges get bigger and bigger as the story goes on. Give the story a turning point in which the protagonist you have to make a big decision for which there is no turning back.

Have the protagonist answer the question in action. And then show the consequences of that decision as the resolution of the story. I knew I should go that route. Now I have to start over again with much excitement! This will be my first memoir. I would love to have any more tips anyone is willing to share.

This is something I want to do and feel I need to do. Hi Marilyn, Apologies if this is way off topic and not of interest, but the subject of your memoir made me think of a book I recently heard the co-authors discuss on a podcast. Just thought you might be interested. All the best with your own memoir writing! Would love to hear more about your memoir—do you have a theme yet? How exciting for you! Just finished research for my memoir and I also have all the documents that I need as evidence of truth.

If you reach out to me via email msh [at] thewritingwhisperer [dot] com we can talk about options. Thanks, Shannon, for these helpful tips.

Good luck—and keep me posted! This story happened when I was in college and met the girl who became my wife. The time was filled with heavy emotion because I also stood at a crossroads. And so did she. Shannon thank you for this brilliant post and extremely excellent timing! So happy you found the inspiration to finish up. This is such a great article and with tons of nuggets. Loved it and learned a thing or two as well. Thank you Shannon for your sage advice. I appreciate what you say about creating a story with arc and viewing the people in the memoir as characters.

Now I realize that I have 3 distinct events that happened in my life to shape me and I look forward to gearing my memoirs towards that goal. Your advice opened my eyes to the possibilities…. Yes, go for the sliver method. I started working with a memoir writer today and once we narrowed the focus to overarching theme, it was much easier to find the slivers that fit that theme.

Thanks for the helpful article. I have been hired to write the story of a 95 year-old woman. Her children approached me to do this, but she is excited about it and looking forward to seeing the book.

I guess it will be more of a biography than a memoir, but I want to include stories written as scenes, with details to keep it interesting. Have you read this book? You might want to snag a copy and study the organization! Thank you Shannon for the great article! Most of my recent exploration into writing has been in blog format, specifically regarding grief and loss, and I would really like to begin writing about the happier times, and I believe a memoir is the way to begin. Mike—what a great idea for a memoir.

I think that if you think about the theme of the book, and then relate the stories to that theme, you will be just fine. As yourself, what do I want my readers to walk away knowing when they close the book? That is the theme, and then pick the bits and pieces that fit to that theme. Hey Wendy, I hear ya. But to get all that off my chest and into something I am now proud of is key!

When I work with my memoir writers, we talk about the emotions, and ways of handling them and dealing with them as we write. I can relate so much wendy.

On my good days I dont want to go down into the depths of pain! But on the other hand I know I am compelled to write this story. Your article has certainly ignited some ideas in my mind…. Thank you, Shannon, for this insightful advice. Then a friend suggested I first think of it as a booklet, not a book less daunting that way: This is working for me.

What a smart friend you have! Shannon — super great post, thanks! Where it all started.. Such a very important topic indeed. Be sure you have a content strategy to get the word out.

I have seen my book and podcast explode the past two months because I followed a content strategy one I developed and have stuck to it. Authors are brands too! Decide how you would like to present your memory: Use vivid descriptions for your main characters. Make them come alive by employing a combination of action, thoughts and dialogue.

End your essay by making it clear to the reader why this event is significant for you and how this memory influences your present life. Odak writes on a range of topics including education, literature and frugal living. The database based on Word Net is a lexical database for the English Language. Step 1 Create a list of significant memories from your past. This step will go faster than writing, but it can still take some serious time.

This means a final pass to find the last of the mistakes and to ensure the wording is just right. Grammatical and spelling errors should be sought out and fixed.

Nothing looks less professional than using the wrong tense or verb in your writing. Have someone else read over the memoir before you publish it for everyone to see. If you have a friend or professor who can check the document before it goes public, make use of them.

This step is scary, but it is worth it to share your work. If you plan to publish your memoir, as most people do, you will want to follow a memoir format. The format ensures you end up with a professional result. Use vivid language to describe your scenes. Whether they laughed or cried, they should feel like there was a reason to read what you wrote. The better they feel about it, the more likely they are to share it. The trick to making a memoir memorable is to create emotion and build a lesson into it.

When someone finishes the book, they should have knowledge of something new. This is the real test of a good memoir. Did it accomplish its purpose?

Legal Stuff

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

A memoir is a personal essay about a significant memory in the author's life that uses narrative devices like setting, character and dialogue. Molding your chosen memory to an appropriate structure, using vivid detail and examining the memory's significance can help you write a strong memoir.

Privacy FAQs

If you’re interested in sharing your personal experiences through writing, consider learning more about the memoir essay. The following excerpt is taken from Crafting The Personal Essay by Dinty W. Moore.

About Our Ads

At first blush, students assume memoir essays to be the easiest of genres to write. After all, memoirs are all about the student’s life -- a subject intimately familiar to them. And, against the grain of most academic writing, students are allowed to use first person. A memoir essay is centered on a significant memory from the past. The essay details that memory and explains how and why it is meaningful, as well as the influence the memory had on your life. When writing a memoir essay, it is important to illustrate the significance of the memory through specific.

Cookie Info

How to Write a Memoir A memoir essay refers to a recounting of your life story, based around a specific focus, or a particular event that occurred in your life. Usually, there is a certain theme to the memoir, such as a specific topic you wish to discuss, related to specific memories from your past. A memoir essay is an essay that is centered on a past memory that is significant. They include writing about ones life over subject that is they are intimately familiar with. Memoir essay requires students to explain themselves in few in few pages.