Many thoughts swirl around in my head regarding the telling of my life’s story: my memoir.
Should I market it as an “inspired by” type of story, in the event someone in my family may read it though it’s highly unlikely. Do I write it as it happened, only changing names to protect identities of people that came into, still remain, or exited my life? Will it be a fiction piece and my own secret that it’s really about my actual life? I’m realizing those are the primary reasons why this project has been sitting, waiting patiently for me to edit it, though the junk draft was completed about two years ago.
I’ve decided to write it as is, tell the tale of what happened, and not as an “inspired by” book. Additional questions arose, actually they’ve been in the back of my mind for years. The question was (is) what to do with the journal entries and dreams and interpretations. I even did a Twitter Poll asking for suggestions. I’ve thought to include them at the end of chapters, at the end of the book, or as a separate book. There’s pros and cons to each of those ideas.
Including the additional information at the end of chapters, or the end of the book would greatly increase the word count, would make this memoir full-blown novel length. End of chapter inclusion would provide additional insight into my psyche and life at the time of the events within that timeframe. Placing the information at the end of the book would cause the reader to go back and forth in the book during their reading, which I feel would be disruptive to their flow.
A separate book of the entries may be a nice accompaniment to the memoir, allowing the reader to purchase, or not, if they wanted to know more information about me and my thought processes at that time. However, it may be disruptive to the continuity of the flow of the memoir itself. What I mean is, if I read a memoir and later read the accompaniment, I may not be clear on where the entries would’ve been placed within the actual story. I question if the accompaniment would feel like an afterthought.
One of the suggestions I received, which sounded promising, was to use some of the entries as teasers to the actual memoir. Build up anticipation for the book release. However, with the total word count of all the entries, the majority of them would be left out.
I feel I’m leaning toward including the additional information at the end of the appropriate chapters. Writing a blog post about this was another suggestion and I understand why. I’m processing my thoughts as I’m typing them and now have a clearer idea of how I want to proceed. Since the entries would be at the end of chapters the reader can read or skip them. Personally, I enjoy following someone’s thought processes but that may be the clinician in me. I like finding out “why” something possibly happened based on a person’s perceptions of a particular situation. I enjoy watching the unfolding of someone’s understanding and acceptance of their circumstances as well as how they thought through resolutions.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the above article. If you’ve written, or are writing, a memoir I’d love to hear about your process. Did you struggle with how to market it? Did you include additional information to give the reader a more in-depth view into your psyche at that time? If you were reading a memoir, would you want to know the additional information, which I’ve come to think of as a sort of ‘behind the scenes’ view or ‘deleted scenes’ of a movie. I always watch those!
Thank you for reading this article and bearing with me as I processed how to move forward with editing and rewriting my memoir. This has been helpful to me and I hope it has been for you as well.
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