How come this category isn't as busy?

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crazywritingmom

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This forum is a hoppin' but the memoir area seems a little...lllooonnneellllyyy.

Is it that memoirs are not in season right now???

Where are all the memoir writers...?

I'm working away.

I finished a version of my story. 1st draft. HORRIBLE. It's hard to write something so personal.

Now I'm redoing it. Rearranging the sequence and changing the way I write it.

POV's scare me to death. All this discussion about what POV and how do I know if I've changed POV in a way that's sloppy? Ay yi yi

Right now I'm writing in first person obviously...

Writing it as if I'm telling the story, but not really writing it with my present thoughts mixed into the past.

I don't know. How does everyone else write their memoirs?
 

Ruth2

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Memoir, Biography and autobiography are never as busy. Not even close.

I'm writing my memoir in first person, present tense. I'm about 32K into it. Halfway, more or less.
 

crazywritingmom

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present tense huh? That seems tricky. How to keep your hindsight from eeking in. Don't you feel limited?
 

thothguard51

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The memoirs market is saturated with celebrity memoirs and self help books right now, not to mention the self pubbed memoirs out there that are not selling in any great numbers. More so than the market can bare for the number of readers who like this kind of genre, or so I have read.
 

Ruth2

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jdeneen4-- So far it's not been a problem. The memoir starts at a certain point. Anything before that is past tense; anything after it is present tense. It's humorous, which helps.
 

Siri Kirpal

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Memoirs tend to do better if they're in first person. Use third person if you're tweaking the story and calling it a novel.

Yeah, this is a quiet area. Once in awhile, though, the memoir section of SYW gets hopping. When you have 50 posts, you can post a chapter or two in the Memoir section of Share Your Work. You can go in there any time and crit--or just look at--what's in there now. Password for the whole Share Your Work is vista.

One of the things I've noticed is that many memoirists only have one story and don't write other things, and those folks come and go. Which may account for the silence hereabouts. The rest of us work in multiple genres.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

MartinD

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If you'd like to see this forum start to move, just ask everyone who thinks their life is worthy of a memoir to come and post.

I've had at least a dozen people approach me to write their life story (last month, a rock collector and a dental assistant) because they've led such fascinating lives.
 

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I've read around fifty memoirs in the last eight years and have noticed that, for me, memoirs have become more interesting than fiction. I first began reading memoirs to study the available literature while I wrote my own, but I soon became hooked. No amount of well-written and plotted fiction can compare to the power of a good memoir for one simple reason: A good memoir is a true story, one we can compare and contrast to our own lives, a story in which we may see a little bit of ourselves.
And, like a wise man once said, that stuff is so weird you just can't make it up.

I don't come here much anymore, but it's not for lack of interest. I'm currently working on two fiction novels while my agent submits my memoir.

I still read more memoirs than anything else, but I rarely read "celebrity" memoirs because most of the ones I've read have been excruciatingly boring and predictable. I'll take a "nobody" memoir any day.

I think publishers don't promote memoirs as much as they should. Maybe the James Frey scandal scared them off...?
 

Ruth2

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I think the James Frey scandal definitely scared them off. I know it makes me second guess some of the things I remember when working on my memoir. Good for truth, bad for flow.
 

CaseyMack

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Memoirs and Risk Aversion

I still read more memoirs than anything else, but I rarely read "celebrity" memoirs because most of the ones I've read have been excruciatingly boring and predictable. I'll take a "nobody" memoir any day.

This point relates to the notion of "having a platform." If Justin Bieber (for lack of a better example) writes a memoir, every agent and publisher will want to get their hands on it. If a "nobody" with a gripping life story writes one, agents and publishers aren't interested.

Having a great deal of familiarity with corporations and businesspeople, much as they like to claim they are risk takers, for the most part, they aren't. They only like to "gamble" on sure things.

Still, it just takes that one person to tune in to an inherently great story, and "ta da!"...
 

trumpetology

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my take on the present tense issues is that it can be very exciting, but some find it difficult to keep going. However, those that succeed are my favorite.

I'm writing in the first tense (with various results) and I find it emotionally tiresome as well. I wish you the best!

One drawback that you have to consider is that it's more difficult to reflect on the events.
 

Nandi

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As Siri mentioned above, I suspect that many who write memoirs only have one memoir in them, and once they have completed their project, they move on to other things. Or not.

I teach a memoir writing class now, but almost all of my students say that they're not interested in publication. They intend for their memoirs to stand as their legacies for the next generation.

I have found it much easier to write personal stories in the past tense, which allows space for the all-important reflective narrator.
 

Ruth2

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Unless of course you're like me (55+) and need to make hay while the sun shines. :)

But yes, don't rush it. Let it ferment. It will make your story richer.
 

crazywritingmom

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well I am stuck. stalled. burned out.

I have been writing and revising my memoir. It's still not finished.

It's so hard to write something that really happened...I can't remember exact conversation, but I can remember the main points. Do I reconstruct the conversation for the sake of easy reading, or just summarize? The story is about my father and me and I'm always trying to decide what extraneous characters need to come in and out of the story.

I need to work on something else and come back to it.

ugh.
 

Siri Kirpal

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It's okay to reconstruct a conversation based on its gist. It's also okay to summarize, though you'd be wise to include some dialogue, as too much summary gets boring.

You can also reconstruct other details. For instance, I've got a scene in which I describe myself as wearing a pair of lemon yellow pants. Truth is, I'm not sure which pair it was, but I did have such a pair at that time, and that's the pair that fit what I needed to say the best.

Hope that helps.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

Siri Kirpal

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I just read what your memoir is about. If you have no idea how to end the thing, you might want to take a break and work on another project. You might also want to read a memoir title The Kiss (I forget who it's by); subject is the same.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

BigWords

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This is just me musing, but if the category as-is really isn't as bustling as it could be, then expanding to non-fiction in general may expand the use of the room - it would, of course, be a substantial shift, and much is already covered elsewhere.

If people have suggestions for improvement, then this is the place to make them. :)
 

Siri Kirpal

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Big Words, are you suggesting this forum and the non-fiction forum be combined?

The problem is memoir has to sound like fiction, but be true like non-fiction. Non-fiction stuff is often not relevant to those of us working on memoirs.

So, even though this is a slow paced neck of the AW woods, I personally think it's better separate. If that's what you're suggesting...

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

Nandi

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well I am stuck. stalled. burned out.

I have been writing and revising my memoir. It's still not finished.

It's so hard to write something that really happened...I can't remember exact conversation, but I can remember the main points. Do I reconstruct the conversation for the sake of easy reading, or just summarize? The story is about my father and me and I'm always trying to decide what extraneous characters need to come in and out of the story.

I need to work on something else and come back to it.

ugh.

There's nothing wrong, IMHO, in reconstructing dialogue when needed. Dialogue works best when there is something important happening, or there is some sort of change that results as part of the conversation.

A very helpful book for this conundrum is Showing and Telling by Laurie Alberts.
 

I survived

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My memoir deals with a whole lifetime of child abuse. While I would like to just write my memoir, a survivors story my step-mother and biological father are both still alive and crazzy enough to sue me. So I'm playing games a couple of chapters of each o my books are autobiographical and the rest is either fiction or taken from other victims lives. If they read any of it they'''ll probably still know when I'm talking about them but oh well! I'm writing the books to show young people they can survive the abuse and turn out OK and that's more important than their feelings.
 

Meaganmm

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I think this section is also quiet because most writers only have one memoir in them. And, as someone above said, if that's all you're writing, then you're done. I've been a writer for years, but always journalism, so this is a whole new world for me, having to worry about story arc and narrative, but it's so close to fiction that it's got me thinking in new ways. Who knows, maybe I'll write a book about a dragon's egg next, just to get things rolling and to get to visit with the popular kids.
Either way, I'm glad the forum is here. I'm going to try to post more often so I can get to my 50 posts and feel like a "real" member!
 

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