Think of a family story you have told or have heard told many times. She’d had cerebral palsy since she was 7, and she knew this sudden buckling of her knees might mean she was heading for a wheelchair. So, I ______________(action). So let’s take a look at exactly how to build your arc, starting with the key elements: the desire line, actions and obstacles, emotional beats, the initiating incident and, of course, the ending. As you gaze at your cards, you will see, I’m guessing, not a neatly laid-out story in which each event leads in a logical and satisfying way to the next. Write down or record the memories of others connected to the events to have on hand as a reference. You learn not to lose the thread of your story by cramming in everything that happened—the trip to Alaska, the love letters, the musty apartment you rented before you got the house. The events in the story are there not because they happened, but to show the shifts in emotion the narrator (you) goes through, event by event, over the course of the book. When we begin writing a memoir, we find ourselves travelling down bumpy roads and misty memory paths as we search for our story. The narrator is a character in a story who reflects on the events of his life and, usually, draws certain conclusions. "This Dead End Job Is Ruining My Life!" Correct answers: 2 question: Which two elements of shackleton's south! This stumble sets off the struggle of the book, with the desire line, “I wanted to be able to take care of myself with no help from anyone.”. Rinse. Perspectives change over time as we learn and grow. Here’s the beat: “It was the first time that she made herself vulnerable to me, and for the first time in months, I really looked at her.”. Your memoir is your story, your life, told from your firsthand experience and perspective. I wanted to make a new life in Uganda after the death of my wife. What did you do to get what you wanted? Keep in mind that the desire line can change by the end of the memoir. For Johnson, in the previous example, the initiating incident was realizing she had underestimated the impact of the presence of a stepson in her marriage. In a time and year that has been hard on so many in a variety of ways, more than a few writers have found their creativity dry up. A memoir doesn’t have to be profound, heartbreaking, or brilliant; it just needs to be real. In that case, you might find a writing group or coach especially helpful. Overjoyed? To get it, I ______________(action). A Psychology Today article entitled “Why You Should Write Your Memoir”, confirms this; When you write a memoir, you are writing your version of what you think happened from your own perspective. A memoir is a work of art much more than the typical non-fiction book. This memoir is a must read not just for caregivers and aspiring caregivers, but also for everyone else. I wanted to love my stepson. (BEAT) She is lonely. The graphic organizer provided serves multiple purposes! The Ending Incident Picking the end point is crucial. He has a 5-year-old, Max, but that’s no problem: After all, the boy is with his mother half the time. the use of imaginative characters the blend of imagination with facts the third-person point of view the vivid description of the landscape the first-person point of view Gather your stories and supporting anecdotes. Write your memoir with a narrative arc, like a novel. (You might have heard fiction writers call it the through line.). Where should it end? Drawing your arc is not something you can knock out in the half-hour before dinner. (After all, we all do, right? Obstacles are often external: other people (the nurse who got herself written into your mother’s will), bad luck, natural disasters and so on. Closely related to, and often confused with, autobiography, a memoir usually differs chiefly in there being a greater degree of emphasis placed on external events in memoirs, whereas … If you find the process of drawing a compelling and satisfying arc overwhelming, you may still be too close to your experience to get any writerly perspective on it. A good memoir needs a theme. Actions and Obstacles Once you have the desire line, you can lay out the events of your book. Were you successful in reaching your goals or living your dreams? I had become a mother.”. Assuming you’re writing with an end goal of pursuing publication, it’s not a bad idea to recognize this discrepancy early, so you can plan the book differently, this time with the readers’ needs in mind. People love resolution and closure. Now: What was it? Learn from other writers. Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, to show your weaknesses, to reveal your questions and doubts. These are moments that keep the rhythm of the story going and grab the reader’s attention. Be with writers. It challenges you to survey the tangle of emotions, motives, repetitions and complexities of events you lived through with the cold, dispassionate eye of an editor. Why can’t I do that? Then, get yourself a big glass of wine and a couple of undisturbed hours, and lay out all the cards on the floor or a table, in chronological order. End your memoir by tying up loose ends—bring resolution without being preachy. As you think about the event or period of your life you want to write about, what obstacles did you have to overcome or what challenges did you face during that period of time? Every event you write about should contribute to the overall message you want to get across to your readers. 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