Tell the world who you are.
BRING YOUR UNFORGETTABLE STORY TO THE WORLD
Do you have an unforgettable story to tell?
Life can turn on a dime. A person goes from rags to riches, or riches to rags. A city experiences an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood or fire. Families lose everything. These are experiences that demand to be shared.
A memoir covers a certain part of a person’s life, and tells the story from the perspective of certain events, often transformative to the person telling the story. It is a true accounting, first person, narrated, often with dialog. It may have a fictional style to it, but it is strictly non-fiction, and should never misrepresent what actually happened.
It might be the experience of surviving an illness, or bringing a child or a parent through such a crisis. It could be the traumatic experience of a crime and the journey to bring closure, with the book serving as the final leg of that journey.
It could be an adventure—walking the Appalachian Trail, or a summer working on a fishing boat in Alaska that turned perilous.
The experience will often be a test of character, such as overcoming a difficult divorce, or succeeding on your own after being unceremoniously booted from your “perfect job.”
It could be completely humorous—there is something hugely appealing about the ability to laugh on a regular basis at the goofy moments of everyday life.
Perhaps your story is of a pet that provided endless entertainment, and constant comfort. Classic books have been written about animals, such as Steinbeck's Travels With Charlie. As long as it is true, it is a memoir.
Great movies are very often built around that those moments when common people meet uncommon challenges. And so are memoirs. Times and places are vividly brought to life, often connected by a historic thread readers will recognize.
A memoir is different from an autobiography, which is a chronological account of a lifetime. It is also different from a biography, which is an account of a person’s life, written by another. And it is different from a personal narrative, which will cover a single event.
If your memoir teaches universal lessons, its audience may extend well beyond your circle of acquaintances. But even if the audience is smaller, it will read as quality literature, not a mere "vanity project."
To get a better feel for memoirs, read memoirs! You will find that the good ones are very entertaining, and have some of the qualities of good fiction: strong characters; good pacing; alternating tension and release. They may be cathartic, both for the writer and the reader.
We can help you focus on your story. With the interviewing techniques we have mastered on over the years, we can build a unified story out of seemingly isolated anecdotes.
Your memoir will be a huge accomplishment, shedding the light of experience on events that may have been confusing and disturbing at the time.
CASE STUDY: An classic example of a memoir that we developed is The Unrelenting Test of War by Murray Anderson, seen on our portfolio page.
Anderson fought in the Pacific Theatre as a Marine. After living through the brutal battle of Tarawa and fighting in a heroic battle to conquer the island of Saipan, he then trained with his fellow Marines to invade Japan, resigned to the knowledge that it would mean sure death. Instead, he participated in established the peacetime protocols at war's end.
This was a transformative experience for Murray, as he found the courage to tackle challenges that few have to face, and he gained a new and deeper understanding of his faith as it was tested and fortified.
His experience accepting the colors (flag) of the Japanese army, and breaking through the vicious stereotypes the Japanese soldiers had of the Marines, is unforgettable narrative nonfiction.
Murray told us he had suffered terrifying nightmares about World War II until the story was in print—at which point the nightmares stopped, suddenly and for good. This was an unexpected bonus of writing a memoir.
Socrates apparently said, "A unexamined life is not worth living." We won't go that far, but we will say the the memoir is an outstanding opportunity to gain perspective.
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