Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Readable Memoirs Are Novels ...

Just Not Fiction: I've been telling my memoir-writing students that memoirs are like novels, except they are true. Well, mostly true, but that's another issue. Thanks to Molly Wingate, a writing coach, for making the same point and, in the process, tipping me off about this advice for memoir writers from Kathy Brandt, who wrote a book with her son about his life with a mental illness:
Remember the story arc.
What is the story arc?  It’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. In his book Screenplay, Syd Field calls it the dramatic structure “a linear arrangement of related incidents, episodes, or events leading to a dramatic resolution.” When I write fiction, I eventually diagram the book on a long sheet of paper—a time line with each incident or plot point rising to the final climax and resolution. It becomes a visual roadmap and a way to identify places I’ve gone wrong. Once we’d written several drafts, Max and I realized we needed to do the same. We diagrammed our roadmap or story arc and began rewriting.
Read more.
And don't miss Brandt's "Eight Questions to Consider As You Draft Your Memoir" further down in her article.—The Publishing Pro

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