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Thread: Stuck on Memoir Structure

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  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Stuck on Memoir Structure

    Writing a memoir, which is due to be published, and the already short deadline is looming... Am at a stage where Iím feeling a bit lost! The memoir focuses around an Event that takes place over a couple of days, and interspersed with flashbacks to my life before the Event, which ultimately lead me to being at that place, at that time. What Iím struggling with is:
    1) how to best structure the flashbacks around the highs and lows of the Event; and
    2) how to select what flashbacks go in and which do not. Having a lot of Ďbut is it interesting to anyone elseí crises of confidence!

    Would love some thoughts or suggestions on the process from fellow writers. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    I don't think it's going to be possible to tell you how to structure the book without knowing the material, especially since you're going to be moving a lot through time and maybe space.

    You select the flashbacks based on how they relate to the main event. Things that led up to the Event should probably be included. Things that are tangential should probably be excluded, unless they provide some insight you're not going to be able to show otherwise.

    I'm surprised you know you're up for publication if the book isn't fully written yet. That's usually a prerequisite.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jojeba View Post
    Writing a memoir, which is due to be published, and the already short deadline is looming... Am at a stage where I’m feeling a bit lost! The memoir focuses around an Event that takes place over a couple of days, and interspersed with flashbacks to my life before the Event, which ultimately lead me to being at that place, at that time. What I’m struggling with is:
    1) how to best structure the flashbacks around the highs and lows of the Event; and
    2) how to select what flashbacks go in and which do not. Having a lot of ‘but is it interesting to anyone else’ crises of confidence!

    Would love some thoughts or suggestions on the process from fellow writers. Thank you.
    What does your editor say?

    My first thought upon reading this post is basically... to panic? Short deadline to publication with things that sound kind of major that you're not set on says to me: stop. I don't know who you're working with or why you've got this deadline, but you're more likely to be doing yourself a disservice to put something out that's not ready than to be confident in what you're working with.

  4. #4
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jojeba View Post
    Writing a memoir, which is due to be published, and the already short deadline is looming... Am at a stage where I’m feeling a bit lost! The memoir focuses around an Event that takes place over a couple of days, and interspersed with flashbacks to my life before the Event, which ultimately lead me to being at that place, at that time. What I’m struggling with is:
    1) how to best structure the flashbacks around the highs and lows of the Event; and
    2) how to select what flashbacks go in and which do not. Having a lot of ‘but is it interesting to anyone else’ crises of confidence!

    Would love some thoughts or suggestions on the process from fellow writers. Thank you.
    All of your concerns are things you should talk about with your editor.

    As you're so close to deadline, it's worth asking if that deadline can be extended.

    Would you mind telling us who the publisher is? And if you've had to pay for publication? Because most of the better publishers would have resolved these issues with you right at the start: I'm concerned that you've fallen into the hands of a scammer or an incompetent.

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