Autobiography vs. Memoir

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Fort Ott

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Autobiography vs. Memoir

What is the difference between an autobiography and a memoir? When should you call your book an autobiography and when should you call it a memoir? Does it matter?
 

Gringa

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An autobiography is your entire life - a memoir is a slice of your life.
 

Siri Kirpal

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Instead of sending us to a link, could you please tell us what span of time your book covers. If it's most of your life and isn't focused on one topic, then it's autobiography. If it's a short portion of your life or a focused topic within your life, it's memoir.

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Siri Kirpal
 

Fort Ott

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The main body of the book covers only my childhood, from the time I was born until the day I graduated from high school. The prologue is about my family history before I was born and how my grandparents migrated to North America and why, and how my parents met in North America. The epilogue is about my college years and personal family issues.
 
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Siri Kirpal

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If you're over 25 (which I assume you are), then it's memoir.

If you're planning on publishing this and especially if you plan to hunt for an agent, I would reconsider that prologue. The memoir appears to be about you; a prologue of the type you describe sounds like backstory or worse yet, an info dump. Most writers suggest scattering that information throughout the text or leaving it out if it's not necessary. If you don't plan to publish and it's just for family, then leave it in.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

Wilde_at_heart

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khobar

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Where are you in your writing? That you asked the question suggests you are not ready for marketing, so perhaps the best thing to do at the moment is not worry about a label and just get the writing done? I mean, why are you writing this book? Why did you start where you did? Why did you stop it where you did? And why did you include an epilogue that spans the gap between where the story ends and where you are now?
 

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