Memoir Writing & Memoir Examples

Memoir writing takes guts. It’s revealing and personal – sometimes even painful to put on the page. Here you’ll find guidelines and memoir examples to ensure your story is something others will want to read. Learn how to craft it and how to get it sold. For more resources, click How to Write a Memoir.

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How Writing About Loss Helps You Heal

Just a few days before my 27th birthday, she had a severe heart attack. I returned to Ohio, never imagining I’d remain there for over a year—Mom spending that entire time in one hospital or another, battling congestive heart failure, stomach paralysis, ventilator dependency, and lung cancer (the thing that would ultimately claim her...

Writing Memoir: Art vs. Confessional

Continuing with the theme of memoir this week, Susan Cushman (pictured above) is today’s guest on NO RULES. Like Darrelyn Saloom, Susan was deeply impacted by the reading of Robert Goolrick at the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Conference. Susan will be a new monthly guest blogger, so please offer her a warm welcome. You can...

3 Important Privacy Issues in Memoir

Today’s guest post is from author and professor Tracy Seeley. Her memoir, My Ruby Slippers, will soon be available from University of Nebraska Press. Visit her blog, or pre-order the book from Amazon. When we write memoir, we pull back the curtain on our private lives and invite readers in. We willingly give up...

A Feast of Days (Part 4): The Last Chapter

Today’s guest post is by emerging writer Darrelyn Saloom, who recently attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference, and is offering up a 4-part narrative on the experience. Darrelyn is a regular guest here at No Rules. Follow her on Twitter or read her previous posts. (Pictured above: William Faulkner statue on the square,...

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7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Catherine Gildiner

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Catherine Gildiner. Catherine Gildiner has written two memoirs. Her latest,...

Memoir Queries vs. Proposals

Because memoirs are narrative stories that, though nonfiction, flow much the way a novel does, some agents prefer that you send a query letter for your memoir just as you would for a novel. Other agents treat memoirs like other nonfiction submissions and prefer that you send a book proposal up front.

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Hearing Voices: 6 Steps I Used for Creating an Anthology

1. Find A Unique Theme After two positive experiences of contributing to anthologies about education, I was ready to work on my own. But what voice needed to be heard and hadn’t been heard before? A life-changing experience answered these questions when my son was deployed to war. The seldom-heard voices of mothers sending...

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How to Write a Travel Memoir

A travel memoir is a travel writing genre all its own. It is not a guidebook, trip diary or marketing piece for the Sunday paper. Rather, it is a delicate mixture of recollection and reflection that reveals how a journey, or a series of journeys, transformed the writer. Guest column by Susan Pohlman, author of...

Your Self-Help Book Should Not Be a Thinly Disguised Memoir

If you’re writing a memoir, and it’s your very first attempt at writing (or writing seriously for publication), odds are good that you won’t yet be skillful enough to pass muster with an agent or editor. (See this YouTube lesson from master storyteller Ira Glass on why.) Many people are sparked to write a...

Motivate Your Characters Like a Pro

In his session “The Psychology of Character Motivation,” Edgar-nominated author D.P. Lyle, MD, shared this invaluable exercise for developing your characters’ motivations as your story unfolds.

by Jessica Strawser, reporting from ThrillerFest 2010 (New York City)

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How I Got My Agent: Tom McAllister

"How I Got My Agent" is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at...

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How I Got My Agent: Eve Brown-Waite

"How I Got My Agent" is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at...

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How I Got My Agent: Marianne Elliott

"How I Got My Agent" is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at...

New Agent Alert: Marissa Walsh of Shelf Life Literary

Note from Chuck (4-28-2010): Soon after posting this new agent alert, Marissa contacted me and said she is joining the crew at FinePrint Literary Management. All her bio info remains the same. Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new writers because they’re likely building their client list; however, always make sure your work is...

Your No. 1 Challenge If You're Writing Memoir

Last week I taught an online class about story openings for novel & memoir. Everyone was invited to submit their first pages for a rather public critique. Beforehand, I tweeted some of the best tips, which you’ll find at the end of this blog post. Here I’d like to share the most common challenge...