3 Memoir Myths

 Myth #1 – Only old people write memoir

elderly_man_holding_a_custom_text_sign_12871Not true! Whole sub-genres exist written by younger people. Mother-daughter books, stories of addiction and recovery, stories of growing up in all sorts of difficult or unusual circumstances…the list goes on and on. Even the stories written by senior citizens usually revolve around events that took place when they were young.

Kimberly Rae Miller’s Coming Clean: A Memoir is a great example of a young author telling a tale of an unusual childhood. She has over 2,200 reader reviews averaging 4.5 stars.

 

Myth #2 – Your life has to be exciting (or horrible, or miserable) to write a memoir

Again, not true! While many memoirs, like many novels, depend waves_of_direction_800_wht_20801on the excitement of the action or horror or other negative emotion to draw in readers, that is far from the only way to write a memoir. Just like novels, some memoirs depend on humor, or romance to keep their readers engaged.

Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times bestselling author, is a lovely example of a memoir that shows the warm side of life.

 

Myth #3 – You have to be famous for your memoir to sell

stick_figure_on_red_carpet_800_wht_5614No, you don’t have to be a regular at red-carpet events for you to have a great memoir waiting to be written. A simple search for “memoir” in Amazon books will show the success of the not-yet-rich-and-famous authors—ample proof that the most important characteristic of good memoirs is a strong voice and engaging story.

A Girl Name Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel is just one of the many successful memoirs written by authors whose names are not immediately recognized by everyone.

Everyone has a story to tell. Each life is unique and every life contains fascinating stories—you just have to write them down.

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About dhallaj

Co-Founder of the Short & Helpful Online Writer Workshops and author of four novels, Dixiane holds a PhD in Literacy and Adult Learning from George Mason University. She lives in rural Northern Virginia with her husband of 55 years and her cat named Dog.
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