View Full Version : How do you know if your memoir is good?

12-04-2008, 06:12 AM
I mean obviously you'd let some betas read over it, but what if they are your friends and you were asked to use a fake last name for them? I don't understand if it's just the person is afraid of repercussions or something. Now I am having fear of success again. I'd like to know how the heck to over come that one! :eek:

12-04-2008, 02:44 PM
Pam, your anxiety comes through loud and clear, and I'm excited that this forum is here to turn to for clarity and comfort.

As I understand your situation, you have finished at least some sections of a memoir and let some friends read what you've written. Your story divulges some pecadillos of theirs? So they have asked you to change the name?

Hey, if that's all they ask, that you let them wear a mask, so to speak, what's the problem? This story is about you, and you have every right to expose anything about yourself that you wish. But why would you knowingly invade your friends' or relatives' privacy and cause them grief? It doesn't sound like they asked you to remove the section that involve them. I'd consider that quite a compliment. Why not let them choose their new name?

Consider whether it will diminish the story in any way or compromise your Truth to change this/these names? If the answer is yes, the next question is whether it's worth causing grief and damaging your relationship with these people? And possibly risking legal complications...

I'm guessing that your story will perk along quite nicely with new names!

12-04-2008, 04:53 PM
Thanks Ritergal! I don't mind that she wanted her name changed it's just that I wonder if that means she won't like what I wrote which was or should be interpreted as flattering IMO. :D She gave me an alternative lsat name and I asked her if she wanted me to later it further JIC she did. :)

I have pretty much finished this memoir and am editing it now but what she has has been gone over with a fine tooth comb. ;) I just hope Mother makes it over to go over the rest of the book today and next week. :D I really need to know from the people who've got it now that it's worth persuing before I move onto writing its query letter. Though I have two versions on that already too, I am just so high off the writing of this memoir! :D

12-04-2008, 09:15 PM
Pamster, I think a lot of us wonder the same thing! Two things I have done:

(1) I have workshopped portions of my memoir. I've submitted small chunks of the manuscript for analysis at reputable writers' conferences and have received valuable feedback from published writers.

(2) I have submitted to literary journals and anthologies portions of the memoir as stand-alone pieces of creative nonfiction. These publication credits--about a dozen or so--enhance (I hope) my queries and my proposal. I've not received any offers of representation yet, but at least some agents have asked to see more.

Good luck!

12-05-2008, 12:55 AM
Thank you for sharing what you've done, I am hopeful it's good enough to sell books but one can never really know. Thanks for posting! :D