An Overview: Memoir
In light of what is memoirs, it means a collection of the memories that an individual writes about. The memories can be about the moments of the events, public or private, that have taken place in the subjects or person’s life. The word memoir has been derived from the French term mémoire, which means memory or reminiscence. Historically, in the context of what is memoir, it has been defined as the subcategory of biography or autobiography. The author of the memoirs is referred to as a memoirist or a memorialist.
Thus memoir definition is the technique that tells a story of the experience of someone’s life. Memoir definition further states that memoirs talk about a particular theme or a part of someone’s life. In the framework of what is memoirs, it is a story with proper narrative shape, with a focused subject matter involving reflections on a particular event or a place.
While pondering over what is memoirs associated with, memoirs are related to popular personalities, like celebrities, athletes, soldiers, writers, and singers. Therefore, in the context of memoir definition, memoirs allow building a connection with what the audience finds interesting, charming, exciting, engaging, and appealing. The memoir definition defining characteristics are:
Non-Fiction: As been mentioned above, the memoir definition and what is memoirs, memoirs are based on the real-life events in a particular person’s life. When in terms of non- fiction associated with memoir definition, memoirs are unique in the level of subjectivity. As the already lived experiences cannot be fact-checked, thus such memoirs do not give a full multi-perspective picture.
Autobiographical: The question that arises is whether an autobiographical same as autobiography. The answer to it is yes and no. An autobiography covers the whole lifetime of an individual. In contrast, in context to memoir definition or what is memoirs, it tends to focus on the narrower set of the memoirist experience. In recent times, the memoir definition has gained popularity, while the term autobiography seems to be used less in comparison to memoirs.
Types of Memoirs
Keeping in mind the memoir definition and what is memoirs, the memoirs are classified into different types. As memoirs have been around since ages and as the time has progressed, memoirs have exploded into popularity. Under memoir definition and what is memoirs, they can now be written by anyone, and the range of the topics covered has widened manifolds. Thus, memoirs have become a prevalent medium to discuss the lessons learned over the course of life. In light of what is memoir, it is a kind of non-fictional narration that includes fictional elements. The story is framed by adding fictional elements in such a way that the audience can relate to the story.
Therefore, before writing memoirs, the memoirist must decide what type of memoirs one wishes to write and offer to the readers that fall within the context of memoirs definition. Each of the types of memoirs has an advantage. Thus, the writer has to decide which type of memoirs is the right one. As the range is extensive, here are some of the major categories that we often see on the shelves considering in accordance with the memoir definition.
Confessional Memoirs: In context to what is memoir in context to confessional memoir focuses on what the writers feel. In the confessional memoir, the writers talk about the wrong actions or the decisions that one took in life. A confessional memoir is like someone entering a confessional booth to talk to the priest about the sins that one has done.
After discussing directions, the writer then uses confessional memories to explain how the writer made the changes with those involved. The writer also talks about the process that eventually changed life for the better.
Personal Memoir: In context to what is memoir, a personal memoir has been traditionally the most popular type. It presents a glimpse of the writer’s personal life at a particular phase of time. In the context of memoir definition, a personal memoir can be an adventure that the writer had or illness that the writer had to fight or a divorce.
As per personal memoir definition, it focuses on:
- Specific event or experience
- Why that event occurred
- What did the writer learn after the situation resolved
Portrait Memoirs: A portrait memoir definition is that one is written by someone other than the actual person. It is based on the experience or events documented by the person himself. The source can be a diary or document. Therefore the writer of a portrait memoir does not include its own thoughts feelings. They only include what they have found in their research.
Professional Memoir: According to a professional memoir definition, it is written from the perspective of the professional life of the writer. The writer usually offers a memory about their experiences or for the purpose of forming a historical record. In accordance with professional memoir definition, the best story should have a thesis to keep the readers engaged.
Public Memoirs: As per public memoir definition, it revolves around some people live who live the lives in a very public way. Most celebrities are associated with such kind of memoir. Thus, in context to what is memoir in reference to public memoirs, it is a little different as it lets the readers get to know the writer in a more personal way. There are more thoughts, opinions, and other views included in the narrative.
Transformational Memoirs: In context to what is memoir, this type of memoirs is the most common in recent times. It includes
- Coming out from age memoirs
- Overcoming addictions or some kind of challenging circumstances
- Embracing a religion or spirituality. It also shows what led to creating such a decision.
In light of what is memoir of this kind, it focuses on the significant events and experiences which helped to shape the writer in the journey of the transformation.
Travel Memoirs: In context to what is memoir, of this type, the writer focuses on the personal adventure of the situation and the challenges that the writer has gone through. As some writers have a notable experience while traveling, so in such a memoir, they put their experiences and the adventure that one went through in the course of the traveling. It focuses on the writer’s thoughts, feelings, and alternatives during the difficult time of the adventure. The experience makes this kind of memoir standout from the rest of the memoir.
When choosing the kind of memoir that is right for oneself, one can break down it into subtypes based on the writer’s preference. The writer can decide on its own and can create their type of memoir that suits the needs. In this way, one can narrow down the memoir amongst the different kinds of memoir that is appropriate for the writer.
How to Write a Memoir
The four basic steps in writing a memoir are
- Knowing the theme
- Carefully selecting the anecdotes
- Writing a novel
- Telling the story
Knowing the theme: While writing, one should be aware of the kinds of memoirs. Based on the kind of subject that one chooses to write on, decides the theme. People, regardless of age location and social status, share some common needs like food, shelter, and love. Therefore, the cosmic commonalities should be there to elicit the emotions of the readers. Uniqueness should also be there in the memoir.
Selecting the Anecdotes: An ideal memoir lets the readers identify with the writer’s experience and can relate it with their own lives. Therefore, writer should tell the whole story with the tiniest information so that it will help in creating a visual image that one is describing. The more introspective and vulnerable the writer is, the more effective would be the memoir.
Writing it like a novel: Memoir should be written like a novel. The writer should use every trick to make the anecdote come to life. Thus dialogues, descriptions, conflict, tensions, everything should be present in the memoir. Present the details in the story clearly so that the readers know where the writer is in the story.
The writer can start with the most significant memory of life, and that can be even from childhood. Another key to make the memoir a successful one is to clear the difference between what one is today and what one was before.
It should also include what happened and how it impacted the writer life. Just like novels, memoirs should carry a setup that demands a payoff in the end. All those things that keep the reader stay with the text is a setup that demands a payoff. Also, the writer should avoid using a narrative summary. Giving away too much information too early should be avoided.
Telling the Story: The writer should be brave enough to expose one’s weakness, embarrassment, and failures to the world.
Mistakes to Avoid while Writing a Memoir
- Do not make it look like an autobiography that is missing a theme. A memoir without a theme will not be able to grab the attention of the audiences.
- Bragging: One should avoid bragging about oneself in the memoir’ as it may create a negative impression in the mind of the readers.
- Wrong tone: One should keep in mind the tone used in the memoir in accordance to the theme of the memoir. An incorrect tone can negatively impact the memoir.
Thus, one if planning to write a memoir should consider the following points, to present an impressive and attention-grabbing memoir.