Writer Arielle Ford says in a May 16 HuffPo article that she loves memoirs. They are a very popular genre these days. Here’s her list of why we love memoirs:
• They read like fiction which holds our creative attention
• It focuses on a brief period of time or a series of events rather than a lifetime
• We see the irony and meaning of the events as they unfold
• The narrator does well to walk us through conflicts and flashbacks
• We learn the impact of an interesting turn of events
• We engage on a higher emotional level than if the story was being told about the author
• We know the author survives the crisis and we want to learn how
• Often includes the viewpoints of family members and friends to create a multi-dimensional account of the events
Of course, these are attributes of interesting memoirs, so if you want a shot at a successful memoir that more than your family will want to read, make sure you include one of the above—and the second doesn’t count because that’s just a definition. One of Twitter’s #litchat discussions was on memoir, and all agreed that being able to tell a good story from an interesting perspective generally trumps having an exciting event or a big drama to write about. It’s how you say it and what readers get out of it.
Memoirs are a fascinating way to get a glimpse not only into the writer's life, but into an era too. I always enjoy reading them.