QUALITIES OF AN EFFECTIVE MEMOIR

  • The voice is first person singular: I, not we, one, or you.
  • The memoirist is the main character, the someone for readers to be within the story.
  • The writerís thoughts and feelings, reactions and reflections, are revealed.
  • Thereís enough context - background information - to understand the events of the story. The context is woven into the story.
  • A reader can envision the action - can see what is happening.
  • A reader can imaging the setting - where and when the memoir is unfolding.
  • A reader can imagine the relationships between the characters.
  • The dialogue sounds like these people talking, both what they would say and how they would say it: Boy, youíre going to be sorry versus You will be sorry.
  • The place is slowed down so a reader can enter the story and live it, moment to moment, with the characters.
  • There isnít unnecessary information: the writer leaves out what a reader doesnít need to know.
  • The lead invites a reader into the world of the memory.
  • The conclusion is deliberate: it represents a writerís decision about hoe to leave his or her readers.
  • The writer isnít acting as a reporter: the writing is subjective, the writerís truth.
  • The writer invents details that fit with the specific memory and the writerís theme or purpose.
  • The memoir sounds and feels like literature and not reportage.
  • The reader learns something about life by reading about a life.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MEMOIR:

  • It focuses and reflects on the relationship between the writer and a particular person, place, animal, or object.
  • It explains the significance of the relationship.
  • It leaves the reader with one impression of the subject of the memoir.
  • It is limited to a particular phase, time period, place, or recurring behavior in order to develop the focus fully.
  • It makes the subject of the memoir come alive.
  • It maintains a first person point of view.
  • Memoirs have an introduction with an attention grabbing opening.
  • They include details that set the scene
  • They move into personal conversations [anecdotes]
  • They include emotions and feelings.
  • Memoirs include a flashback or background information
  • Event 1- The main action of the memory and the rich details and thoughts that were drummed up.
  • Event 2-the next thing that happened- details and feelings
  • Event 3- smaller details that you want the reader to know
  • Later Events
  • Conclusion-Significance of the experience.View an example here.
  • Ms. Tabor's Class ideas.