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Julie McGlone

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Member Since: Feb, 2008

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Writing a Compelling Memoir
by Julie McGlone   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, July 26, 2008
Posted: Saturday, July 26, 2008

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Effective writing techniques to begin a memoir

 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 pet

First school year I can remember

First childhood friend

First bike/wagon/roller skates/ice skates, etc.

First car

First kiss

First love

First home

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,, and She invites you to advertise your story on her website .



















Web Site: Life Takes Detours

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