- A Relatable Experience – Many of us go through similar experiences and events; however, if you feel yours is not the run of the mill experience, that shouldn’t stop you from writing it. The emotions you describe can be the connection between the author and the audience.
- Drama. Drama. Drama – Keep the experience authentic, but many of us are going to choose a more dramatic event in our lives to share. Use the elements of fiction in your writing to keep the tension building.
- Story Arc – Whether it’s a longer memoir or a single experience, the story must have a beginning, middle, and end. A memoir must have a structure which keeps the audience engaged and an ending that offers some sort of resolution.
- Character Arc – One of the most important elements: We’re not just sharing an experience, we have learned from or taken something away from this event. Part of the memoir must show that the author has grown in some way from the experience.
In my last short memoir, Days of Remembrance, published by Memory House Magazine, the narrator attends a funeral. A relatable experience – everyone does, at some point, deals with death. It doesn’t start with the death, but the arrival to the service which isn’t quite the inciting incident, but it happens right after the arrival. The tension within the family serves as the drama as well as the rising action; the memoir features remembrances within the memory, a climax, and a resolution. The character has a realization and, in the end, has grown from the experience. These are the basic elements of story – fiction or memoir.