Memoir: Creating Your Scene Using The Five Ingredients
Your Life Is A Unique Journey, A Daring Tapestry, And An Amazing Story Waiting To Be Told! Bringing life to the "characters" in your memoir means plumbing the depths of your own human story; the truths, lies, highs, lows, joys, sorrows, and ultimately the redeeming aspects of life.
You'll Use Emily's Foundation To Lay The Foundation Of Your Scene. There are countless memoirs written by men and women that are as compelling and moving as any novel. And in most of them, even though they're based on real life, you'll find that fiction writing techniques lay the foundation of the story.
In addition to using fiction writing techniques to bring your memoir to life, I've also developed an approach based on the idea that memory is faulty at best, and truth is anything but objective. Read about the experience of one writer...
Memoir Writing and The Five Ingredients Of The Scene: I’ve put together the series of picture prompts below to introduce you to the power of The Five Ingredients in developing a Memoir scene.
Point of View
Setting and Mood
Whenever a new student begins this exercise, we always start with Point of View!
Memoir Writing: The Five Ingredients Of The Scene
Point Of View: The most powerful aspect of applying the techniques of fiction writing to your memoir is that is allows you to do more than simply create a replica of your life. Rather, your memoir becomes a journey into some aspect of your life that is calling to be explored, revisited, and ultimately resolved. To my mind, resolution and healing are the most powerful aspects of memoir writing.
Through writing your memoir, you are invited to explore the past, not record it.
Memoir writing sets your present-day awareness onto past experiences that were confusing, challenging, painful, exciting, beautiful, wretched, or moving.
Writing a memoir gives you the opportunity for a do-over where you become the hero or heroine of your own journey. By this I mean rewriting an incident in your life in which you couldn't do what you wish you had been able to do, because you weren't old enough, safe enough, strong enough, or wise enough. I can tell you from personal experience that approaching your memoir from this perspective is not lying; it makes the journey an adventure that has the potential to heal the past! Point of view is the first step toward doing this.
Who is your point of view character? YOU! Not the conscious you trying to remember and recreate, but the adventurous, wise you who has knowings that transcend memory. You begin by letting go of what you perceive as "truth" in order to experience the world through this character who is much more than you think you were!
Using A Picture Prompt For Your Scene: Use the above photo as a jumping off for a moment in your life that wants to be explored. You probably have not been in this exact setting, but you have been in what seems to be a defining moment in your relationship. What is the memory? Is your relationship breaking up? Have you just had an argument? Has a secret between you been uncovered? Has some upsetting event happened? Did one of you just receive bad news?
Remember, a prompt is only a jumping off point used to bring up something from your unconscious. Do not be slavish to the picture. See where it takes you. Then let the You, the character who is You, have free rein. What is the "character You" thinking, feeling, doing, saying? You may be surprised!