Memoir Writing Group : Forum : Working outline


Working outline

8 Years Ago


I think I finally have a working outline for a memoir of my father. I’m planning on working it around a series of short story vignettes that will have a common theme. 

Any suggestions of how to best make this work? Anyone else tried this? It’s difficult to build the traditional story arc, since the true stories that the memoir will document don’t conform to that method. 

Grif

Re: Working outline

8 Years Ago


I have considered two different biographies of interesting people- one was my grandmother, who passed when I was 14, and one my friend Pam's mother, who passed last year. I thought very hard about the ebst way to approach it. I was struck at the biography that Isabel Allende wrote at her dying daughter's bedside ("Paula"). She realized, quite astutely, that you cannot presume to know another person's experiences- if they are close to you, the best you can do is to write about their life from your own experience.   If I ever write about my grandmother, I will rely on the memories of those who knew her, and weave her story in chronological chapters, emphasizing her impact on those of us still alive today. When I write the story for the woman I did not know, it will be as a series of anecdotes recounted by her daughter, as a gift for her grandaughter. I will probably write it like isabel Allende wrote hers, as if talking to the grandaughter while the story is told, allowing plenty of room for tangents and sidenotes to be woven in.   Marie

Re: Working outline

8 Years Ago


Good points. It’s a difficult subject for me, my father, to be objective. I am trying to put my life with him into perspective and find empathy for his character. Until then, I just can’t bring myself to write it...it just becomes a rant that no one else will understand or care and why should they?

Re: Working outline

8 Years Ago


It is hard to be objective when strong emotions are involved... I would suggest you read "Paula" for a look at how one person managed it with grace, love, and growth. I couldn't imagine being able to do what she did.