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Memoirs: How To Tell A Powerful Story

So, you want to share your story because you believe it can help others. But how do you write your memoir to evoke strong emotions and convey your message? A critical part of a memoir is always to tell the truth - but as seen from your perspective. Even though memories can be fickle and subjective, sharing raw and honest emotions will show the reader that you stand by your story, saying that everything you share is true. But remember that your memoir also features other people in your life, and you have to protect their privacy. Also, please don't use your memoir to break others down or exact revenge for any harm they've done to you. 

In a memoir, you are at the center of the narrative. You share your perception of events and reflect on those aspects of events that are important to you and how and why they impacted your life. Unlike an autobiography, where a writer tells his life story, a memoir uses a specific theme or focuses on a particular time of the author's life. The best point of view for a memoir is the first person since it is more personal and allows your reader to see your feelings, thoughts, and opinions. 

Let's look at the four ways you can structure your memoir.

1. As the main character in your memoir, you share your interpretations and feelings about specific events. Using a linear structure and sharing events in chronological order is the simplest way to share your story effectively.

2. As a way to reflect on the events you are describing, switching between past and present can help create a particular mood, outline a pivotal moment, or help to add the back story through flashbacks and flashforwards.

3. When you look at the events you want to write about, see if you can spot themes like accepting change, overcoming grief, challenging relationships, etc., to knit together in your narrative to create an overall theme.

4. You can also structure your memoir around an internal conflict, showing the particular events and how they caused your inner turmoil. It can be a secret you had to keep, life-changing events like losing your job, learning you have a terminal illness, etc., and how it affected your life. In this case, you will focus on your emotional reaction to these events, and your darkest moment will be the protagonist in the memoir. Readers will relate to your struggle and can learn from you possible ways to solve their inner struggles and grow in the process. 

Writing a memoir is challenging since you resurrect many painful emotions associated with difficult times in your life. But showing your perspective on events and how you have grown creates a powerful story that will connect with your readers and help them find the meaning in your story. And if they face similar challenges, your story can give them hope. They will see that they can develop a different perspective on their situation or even find possible solutions for themselves. 



-  How to Write a Memoir: 7 Creative Ways to Tell a Powerful Story

- Getting Started on Your Memoir

- How to Effectively Structure Your Memoir

-  What Tense and Point of View Should I Use in My Memoir?,feelings%2C%20opinions%2C%20and%20thoughts.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Susan van der Walt