I love the look that writers get on their faces when I talk about how they can simplify the process of writing their memoir. Memoir writers have so many things to solve when they begin to write– learning fictional skills, figuring out which memories to include, and sorting through the emotional challenges of writing true stories.
Finding Your Turning Points–Beginning Your Plot
The way to discover the spine of your plot is to make a list of the 10-20 most significant moments of your life–the moments when your life was not the same afterward. This could be a happy event–the day you met the person you would marry–or a not so happy event–the death of your father. Some of these significant moments signify a shift in how we look at the world–a shift in consciousness. Or it might be a time when we make a huge change in our lives toward healing, for instance.
List your turning points, and then begin to write each story one by one. You do not have to write these vignettes in order. In fact, it’s better if you don’t get caught up writing chronologically.
When you are ready, you can plot these moments on your timeline–see my book The Power of Memoir to find out more about how to do this. It helps to see your life laid out visually.
We will be talking about all this and more at the South Bay Writers Workshop November 6. Join us!