View Full Version : Is a Memoir Just a Big, Fat Info Dump?

09-22-2007, 12:25 AM
I've been reading a lot about info dumps, none of it positive. Everyone seems to agree that a certain amount of dumping might have to happen, but as a writer you should avoid big clumps of it. We should try to spread it out so the reader isn't bored silly.

I understand this.

My problem is how this translates to a memoir. I'm writing about a specific 3-4 year of time, but I need to include some background so the reader can follow along. Some of this can be spread around the book, fertilizing the story, but my chapters are not consecutive and if I don't mention one thing until Chapter 6, some things in Chapter 4 may not make sense. Is it ok, in this type of situation, to have excessive dumping in a memoir?

Thank you!

(trying hard not to make this a manure thread)


09-22-2007, 12:27 AM
you take the info and you write a compelling story that has a beginning, a middle and an end. Something that will propel the reader forward. Background is okay. But the story has to be told in a compelling voice.

09-22-2007, 12:30 AM
A very compelling voice.

09-22-2007, 12:31 AM
Makes sense. It's just this one section that's bothering me. I'm trying not to worry about it since I'm still plugging away at the first draft, but the more I read & learn here, I keep thinking back to the section introducing myself.

09-22-2007, 12:32 AM
I was actually going to add an italicized very.

09-22-2007, 12:36 AM
I was actually going to add an italicized very.

because that helps me so much...

I'm going with a humorous/sarcastic voice, so I think i'm just boring myself with the non-funny parts. I know, I know, bad sign if I'm boring myself, but I already know how it turns out.

09-22-2007, 12:44 AM
It's okay. You're in first draft. Just do it. You can fine tune the voice after it's down in black and white.

09-22-2007, 07:05 AM
The voice is the heart of the book. For a memoir to succeed, you must be able to capture the readers attention and hold it by your telling of the tale. "Info dump" writing is not, to me, consistent with that goal.

I'd suggest writing stories and finding a voice, and then weaving stories into a memoir.

09-22-2007, 08:09 AM
I think I was trying too hard to get that stuff out of the way, instead of incorporating it into the story as a whole. Thanks for the great suggestion John. btw, I cannot wait to read your book! I'll be back in the states in Nov and plan to pick it up then.

09-22-2007, 07:34 PM
Info dumping is a problem with writing any genre, including memoir, I'd think.

But yeah--get your story down, and worry about finetuning it, later. There are people who don't start on the next page until the first page is perfect, but I can't imagine memoir writing would work like that.

Just keep going with your story, Melanie.