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Qualities of a Good Memoir

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Caroline Hagan

on 8 October 2014

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Transcript of Qualities of a Good Memoir

A Slice of Life...
Qualities of an Effective Memoir
All About Me
The memoirist is the
main character
and writer.
The memoirist's thoughts,
, reactions, and
are revealed.
The writer/memoirist is NOT acting like a reporter: the writing is
, the writer's truth.
There is enough context-
information- to understand the events of the story
Look Who's Talking Now
The author's voice is
first person
. The text will use
, NOT one, or you.

Readers can
the action- can see what is happening
Readers can imagine the setting-
where and when
the memoir is unfolding
The writer/lead/ memoirist invites the readers into the world of
their memory

The reader
something about life by
about a life!
What's YOUR story?
The Play-by-Play
The events in the story are slowed down so a reader can enter the story and live in it,
moment to moment
with the characters.
Readers can imagine the relationships between the characters
The dialogue sounds like people talking, both
they would say and
they would say it:
"Boy you're going to be sorry"
"You will be sorry"
Play-by-Play Example
Important to Remember
There isn't
information: the writer leaves out what a reader does not need to know
The writer invents details that fit with the specific memory and the writer's
The memoir sounds like literature and not reportage
The conclusion is deliberate: it represents a writer's decision about how to leave his/her readers
Where am I?
"For seconds, [Addison] was able to rest upon the ledge that read the letters of our school. I finally thought she was okay, and began to turn around. She refused to answer the questions Zack and Derrick continued to ask her. From the corner of my eye, I could see the bright orange-yellow of the school bus. And with words unexplainable, the three other girls headed onto the bus, leaving the falling Addison behind. Once when they were about three steps into the bus, Addison collapsed completely.

Too many things went through my head.

Why is the teacher just standing there?
How could her friends just leave her like that?
Was Derrick smiling?
Zach is running back to the school.
The teacher is now hovering over Addison.
Why is Derrick smiling?"
(An Unexpected Fall,
Midnight 5765
Full transcript