By Julie McGlone
This is a good time to think about writing your memoir as a gift to family members or friends. Include humorous or poignant chapters about them and memorable incidents you shared. You may have grown up in a household with other siblings, but all have different perspectives. You also have long time friends who have “been there” for significant parts of your life. Invite them to jog your memory and brace yourself for tales they remember from your past.
When you have a pile of stories to regale, tell only the best parts. Leave out the tiny details that only you would care about; the final product will shine!
- Decide on a snappy working title. Even if you do not intend to publish it, use words that will come up readily in a Google or Yahoo search. Someday you may want to tell the world.
- Is your book about family commitment, overcoming obstacles, places you have visited, experiences in your career, or a reflection on all of these? Figure it out and have that theme tie the book together.
- Consider inserting quotes and poems when they precisely pinpoint an emotion, relationship, or moment in time. Family recipes and photographs will add another dimension of interest. Ask to have them e-mailed to you so you can build a repertoire to draw from.
- Use dialogue to show interaction in a scene. This creates “white space“ and breaks up long paragraphs of description
- Plan a well-developed beginning, middle, and end. Make sure the memoir hooks the readers in and keeps them turning the pages.
- Write each chapter with a complete story that can “stand alone”. Separate chapters are easily uploaded as magazine articles when you are finished your masterpiece.
Stumped for an idea? Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry about writing chronologically. Just get your story down on paper and then place all the chapters in a logical order.
Life is made of Firsts and Lasts and All the Good Stuff in Between
These writing prompts will give you a nudge.
First school year I can remember
First childhood friend
First bike/wagon/roller skates/ice skates, etc.
First teacher who made me feel special
First sport I played
First year of high school
First high school dance/prom
First part-time job that made me realize I didn’t want to do THAT the rest of my life
First year of college
First year living away from home
First year of marriage
First year as a parent
Child’s first haircut
First death of a family member or close friend
Last day of high school as I walked out the door
Last time I spoke with an old friend/ family member
Last time I felt really good about something I accomplished
Last vacation I planned
Last good tip someone gave me
Last contest I entered
Last serious miscalculation I made
Last gift I received
Last time I felt afraid
Last person who inspired me
Julie McGlone is the author of Life Takes Detours, which is available at amazon, barnesandnoble.com, and borders.com. She invites you to advertise your story on her website www.lifetakesdetours.com .