Why we like memoirs

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.


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
This entry was posted in memoir writing. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Why we like memoirs

  1. Joanne says:

    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.

Comments are closed.