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My Mother's Memoirs : Tips and Advice • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

My Mother's Memoirs

Here's the place to share a writing or marketing tip you've used successfully and want to pass along.
cathryisist
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My Mother's Memoirs

Postby cathryisist » Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:25 am


cathryisist
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My Mother's Memoirs

Postby cathryisist » Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:25 am

When I was growing up, my mother would tell me the best stories about her childhood. All of them were true. I'd like to write her memoirs as a tribute to her. I don't think I want to publish them, just give them to her as a gift, the way she gave them to me. I'm stuck on the form. When I try to write them in "story" form, they come out very flat and not half as funny. I've tried coloqualisms (sp) and can't seem to make that work either. Maybe I'm just not ready to tell them. I'm afraid if I sit on them they'll fade.

Any ideas would help. I'm clueless.

Thanks,
Sandra

jmar2
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Location: Marco Island, Florida

RE: My Mother's Memoirs

Postby jmar2 » Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:59 am

How about telling them as if you were your mother. Put yourself into her as first person and be the narrator. Maybe something like:

There are parts of my life I have never shared with anyone, except Sandra. We've always had a bond that transcended Mother and Daughter, we've understood each other, known each other's hearts. I remember once telling her about that picnic on June 17th, 1984. It started out a typical June day...

Another thing you can do is go to the library and read some other memoirs, see what you like/dislike about them.

hope that helps,

John

Curious
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RE: My Mother's Memoirs

Postby Curious » Sat Feb 25, 2006 11:39 am

I'd tell them as stories (individual episodes), just as they were told to you. A great model for this sort of telling is T.R. Pearson's A Short History of a Small Place. I wouldn't worry about tying them together by anything more than "And then, another time..." You'll retain the feeling that made you love them in the first place. They don't necessarily even have to be in chronological order.

Clare

jasipper
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RE: My Mother's Memoirs

Postby jasipper » Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:34 am

There's an article in the latest issue of WD that concerns taking a memoir and turning it into fiction. It discussed some interesting diferences between thet two genres. Might want to check it out.

My Mom is writing her own memoirs now (after much prodding and encouragement from me) and is facing similar issues. I bought her a book for Christmas about memoir writing that she has read and loved! I can't remember the name of it right now, but I'll try to find it for you.

I use stories and other life-events for a great deal of my fiction. I usually embellish it a bit and spin things a lot, but the events and characters are always on my mind and in my heart.

Think about your subjects as characters and tell their stories. Tell them accurately, but with fervor and love. It'll come across on the page.

abqwriter
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RE: My Mother's Memoirs

Postby abqwriter » Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:21 am

I wrote some of my great-grandmother's memoirs for a highschool writing project - she actually hauled an old upright grand piano by Conestoga wagon across New Mexico into Oklahoma during the Dustbowl when she accompanied her husband to a new start in life working as cotton pickers.  I wrote it as a conversation between herself and her grandchild which segueyed into her telling it first person in present tense.  I found it much easier that way.

jasipper
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RE: My Mother's Memoirs

Postby jasipper » Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:08 am


Jumbie
 

RE: My Mother's Memoirs

Postby Jumbie » Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:30 am

I like the first person approach. Like you are your mother telling the stories. That was the first thing that came to me as I read the question.

Good luck with it. It sounds like a wonderful gift.


nolan
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RE: My Mother's Memoirs

Postby nolan » Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:02 pm

A word of caution: I used some photos taken by my mother in my second book, a memoir. It took me over a year to get it through the CopyRight office. They kept telling me I needed her permission which was rather difficult as she died about twenty years ago. I finally submitted a claim of copyright on text only, all photos excluded. I had much the same problem with my publisher on my last book. I Stated in the stated in the acknowledgements that the story was from the authors imagination and other sources. They made me change it to spell out that it was from bull sessions in the Officers club.


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