Writing the Memoir (Part 1)

Ronald E. Yates is an author of award-winning historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy.

This week I am focusing on memoirs–or more accurately, what they are and how to write them. I have written about this in the past and today and tomorrow I am going to share two posts on the topic that I wrote a while back. Then, on the third day, I will share a splendid post on memoirs written by a fellow award-winning author, Marylee MacDonald. If you are like millions of others who are thinking of writing a memoir, I hope you will take a look at these posts. They contain valuable insight and some excellent advice.

 
Many of us at one time or another have been tempted to write our “memoirs.” Perhaps it was a family member or a friend who said: “You need to write your memoirs–you have led an interesting life.”
 
Perhaps you have lived a fascinating life. Perhaps not.
 
But a lot of people “feel” they have lived a life worth writing about. The challenge is to share that life via compelling storytelling.
 
Wrapping your life up inside a book that is easy and fun to read sounds easy. It is not. To do it well you need to know how to employ the fundamentals of the writer’s craft. And you can’t do that unless you know what those fundamentals are. (I will get to those fundamentals in Part 2 of my Writing the Memoir post. Stay tuned!)
 
For now, I want to focus on identifying just what a memoir is and what it is not. In this post I will explain what essentials a memoir should contain; what literary devices you should employ and how you should employ them; and why it is important to build tension with strong, emotive scenes and vivid imagery.
 
There are three critical things