Monday, June 30, 2008

Memoirs-Studying What is Already Out There

What I am currently reading (still): Into Thin Air

As with any kind of writing, you should know your market. Memoir writing is no different. You need to be reading and studying this genre. Here is a list of books and things to think about when you are reading them.
  • How does the story start?
  • What is the order of events?
  • What is happening with the dialog-how often is it used? Does it help move the story along? Is 'said' used mostly?
  • Does is read like a fiction story?
  • Does it keep your interest? Why?
Here is a list of memoirs to get you started on your memoir study

Someday My Prince Will Come-True Adventures Of a Wannabee Princess-True Adventures Of a Wannabee Princess

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Are You Somebody? By Nuala O’Faolain (often seen as the feminine counterpart to Frank McCourt)

Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Aphrodite in Jeans: Adventure Tales about Men, Midlife, and Motherhood by Katherine Doughtie

Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky

The Tender Bar by J.H. Moehringer

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Home by Julie Andrews

West with the Night by Beryl Markham

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

Woodswoman d'Italia said...

Here are a couple more memoirs to add to the list (of course there are many many more excellent ones . . . )

A Year By The Sea - Joan Anderson
Deep Water Passage - Ann Linnea
Stop-Time - Frank Conroy
The Tender Bar - J.R. Moehringer
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on
Faith - Anne Lamott

This last is separate essays, but I definitely consider it musings on memoir. Even Stop-Time, which is considered by many to be the best memoir ever written (though in those days this book was categorized as autobiography because memoir really wasn't a category in the '60's) reads more like a collection of creative non-fiction life stories, rather than a running story.

Memoirs are rich and varied in format, and perhaps that's one of the reasons I find them fascinating as a whole.

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