I was excited and honored to join Linda Joy Myers of the National Association of Memoir Writers to discuss how to writing your family story in your memoir on January 22, 2016. The initial airing was membership only, but Linda Joy has offered me an audio transcript for my readers.
Family stories are an important aspect of memoirs. Our story isn’t simply the things that stand out in the vivid technicolor of our memory or the signposts that mark turning points in our lives. Our personal story also includes chunks of our family—even ancestral—story. Information is only part of the experience you want to offer your readers. You want them to connect to you, the writer, as well as any of the “characters” of your past. When the facts alone live up to their cold, hard billing, memoirists don other hats to bring the past alive—research and creativity.
Linda Joy and Laura discuss writing strategies that add context, texture, and meaning to your story, allowing it to connect with the present.
- Why there’s no such thing as an individual story.
- How to research the past to add context and texture to stories
- How to write about what—or who—you don’t know.
- Using different voices to tell other people’s stories—putting yourself in someone else’s story.
- How to address unanswerable questions, such as What would my ancestor think of me?
Watch Part 1 of Writing your Family Story in your Memoir
Watch Part 2 of Writing your Family Story in your Memoir
The National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW) is a membership organization for memoir writers from all over the world.
Linda Joy Myers says:
Writing a memoir helps you find your voice, tell your story, and reach out to others. You start thinking about your memories, moments that make you feel young again, wondering: what is the legacy I’m leaving behind? What do I have to say that is unique to me? I want to offer the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my own life to help someone else.
You begin to think about writing a memoir!