Writing Process! - 6 Traits of Writing
Writing a memoir means you’re author and subject, researcher and storyteller, narrator and audience. That’s a lot to ask of any writer, though a good way to begin the challenge of writing a memoir is to start a list of the most memorable events of your life. Don’t start on the actual book manuscript until you have at least a page filled with things that seem worthy of sharing — moments from your past that have universal significance, emotional resonance, or high drama. Add another half page of small moments you treasure. Those can speak surprisingly well to those larger themes, too.
- Focuses on a key aspect, theme, event, or choice in a life
- Starts anywhere and can deftly move around in time and place
- Feels more personal; less intense fact-checking
- Strives for emotional truths
- Can be written by anyone
- A sympathetic main character: A reader’s sympathy and interest doesn’t come for free. You have to earn it. Make this a priority for your main character to come across as sympathetic, and readers will appreciate it.
- Vividly depicted scenes: A vividly depicted scene has strong imagery that creates a movie in the mind of readers. Strong scenes like these are memorable and lasting.
- Emotional tension: An emotionally involved reader will keep reading. Find a way to create and heighten the emotional impact of your story. Every story has emotional tension. Make sure you have the distance or outside guidance to find it and fully explore it.
- Increasing sense of drama/conflict: A story that builds increasingly toward the climax comes across as purposeful. How do you build? Ratchet up the conflict. Show how the stakes are raised. Make readers know what might be lost.