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Writing Memoir: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan 2

Lucy O’Callaghan

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Memoirs are different from autobiographies. An autobiography captures your whole life story, memoirs are usually centred around a time period or theme, it’s not so much about the dates and facts of a person’s life, but an account of how a person remembers their life.

You don’t have to start at the beginning of your life. The best memoirs don’t tell their stories chronologically. Start with a story that immediately pulls your reader in, a moment in your life that is compelling enough to grab your reader. It has to be just as enthralling as a work of fiction. I have put together some articles and podcasts that I hope will help you.

  1. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-start-writing-a-memoir

Masterclass has ten tips for starting a memoir. They encourage you to approach your story with the aim of evoking emotion in your reader. The article advises you to tell your story like you are sharing a secret, make the reader your confidante.

  1. https://thewritelife.com/how-to-write-a-memoir/

It is helpful to always have two questions in mind when writing your memoir – how does this scene relate to your theme? And what sense are you trying to make of your story through writing this scene? Be honest and genuine ‘Memoirs explore the concept of truth as through your eyes.’

  1. https://self-publishingschool.com/how-to-write-a-memoir/

This article gives you 14 steps for writing a ‘binge-able life story’, including the importance of making connections with each story, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and that it’s necessary to acknowledge how everything that has happened affects your life today.

  1. https://knliterary.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-memoir/

The first step in writing your memoir is to understand and own your motivations for doing so. There are two types – the teaching memoir and the personal memoir. The teaching memoir are your life lessons and can be a legacy for others. The personal memoir invites your readers to join you and experience your unique perspective. This article also gives you advice on preparing to write, including sorting out your emotional and technical toolbox, and guidelines on how to outline your memoir.

  1. https://www.creative-writing-now.com/memoir-ideas.html

This is a useful page if you are stuck. There are 59 memoir ideas and topics for you to think about when planning to write your memoir. 3 prompts are also given.


  1. https://www.writingattheredhouse.com/2016/10/31/podcast-episode-08-the-art-of-writing-memoir/

This podcast by the Communication Academy talks about the art of writing a memoir. What makes a good memoir, and the rules for writing one.

  1. https://88cupsoftea.com/erinchack/

Memoir writers must write with honesty and confidence, and how to prevent self-doubt from holding you back in telling your story are discussed in this podcast.

  1. https://leitesculinaria.com/100664/audio-memoir-writing-podcast.html

With memoir becoming one of the fastest growing genres in publishing, this podcast discusses the structure, language, and importance of truth in writing your memoir.

Writing your memoir is not only an opportunity to tell a story from your life but to tell that story from your point of view. How it affected and changed you. No one else can do that. You can use your writing style to make it yours. I hope this week’s column has been helpful for you. If there are any particular writing topics you want me to cover, please get in touch.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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