What types of memoirs are there?
A memoir is a type of nonfiction book that tells the story of a person’s life. Often, an autobiography focuses on a particular time or event in the author’s life. They are usually written in first-person point of view, and they often include the author’s thoughts, feelings, and reflections on the events being described. There are four different types of memoirs, each with its purpose and style.
- Teaching memoir
- Transformative Journey
- Historical Memoirs
- Confessional Memoirs
If you’re thinking about writing a memoir, it’s essential to choose a topic that you feel passionate about and that will have broad appeal. Knowing which type of memoir you want to write will help you determine your book’s style, tone, and structure. It will also help you choose the right publisher and marketing platform for your book.
- A teaching memoir is written to share the author’s expertise and experience with others. These books often focus on a particular subject or skill and are written in a how-to style that includes examples and tips from the author’s life.
- Transformative journey memoirs are often the most difficult to write, as it requires the author to delve deep into their own emotions and experiences. However, these memoirs can also be the most rewarding to write and read.
- Historical memoirs look back on the life of a person or people. The memoir might focus on a particular time in the author’s life, such as their childhood or time in the military. It recounts the past, often highlighting important events or people. It could include the history of a family or just one person or the journey a family undertook for a brighter future.
- Confessional memoirs explore the author’s most profound thoughts and feelings, often sharing intimate details of the author’s life. A confessional memoir can be very cathartic. It could explore the author’s thoughts and feelings about a particular event, such as a divorce or the death of a loved one or their experiences in war or prison.
What types of memoirs should you write?
Knowing what you want to do with your memoir will dictate the style and types of memoirs you will write. Do you want to teach, explore your emotions, look back at history, or confess something? Each type of memoir has a different purpose and will be structured differently. Choose the memoir that best suits your story and your goals for writing it.
There are three ways to write a memoir: thematic, chronological, and retrospective.
- Thematic memoirs are structured around a central theme or event, such as love, loss, war, and betrayal. The author weaves together different stories and events from their life to illustrate the central theme
- A chronological memoir tells the story from start to finish, in the order that it happened. Starting at the beginning is the most common type of memoir, as it is the easiest to write and follow
- A retrospective memoir looks back on a particular time or event in the author’s life. It often includes reflection and analysis of what happened during that time
Choosing which type of memoir to write depends on your story and your goals for writing it. If you want to write a teaching memoir, a chronological structure might be best. If you’re going to write about a transformative journey, a thematic biography might be the way to go. And if you want to share your deepest thoughts and feelings, a confessional memoir might be the right choice.
For whom are you writing?
When writing your memoir, it’s essential to consider who your audience is. Are you writing to your family and friends, or are you hoping to reach a wider audience? Your choice of publisher will also dictate the style and tone of your book. A traditional publisher will probably want a more polished and professional book, while a self-publisher or small press may be more interested in an edgier or more personal story.
No matter what type of memoir you choose to write or whom you’re writing it for, the most important thing is that you tell your story in a way that is true to you. Be honest, be vulnerable, and be brave. Your account is worth sharing.
Ways to record your memoir
Once you’ve decided what type of memoir you want to write, it’s time to write. But how? There are several ways to record your biography, and the best method for you will depend on your story and your goals.
If you want to write a traditional memoir, you’ll likely want to sit down and write out your story in chronological order. Using pen and paper or a computer, whichever is more comfortable for you, will be immensely helpful.
If you’re hoping to write a more personal story or one that is less structured, try keeping a journal. A journal can be helpful if you’re having trouble getting started or if you get stuck while writing.
Another option is to create a scrapbook or photo album. Images can be a fun and creative way to record your memories, and it’s also a great way to involve other family members and friends.
You may also wish to record your story using a camera and talk directly to the viewing audience. Video can be a great way to capture your emotions and expressions, and it can also be helpful if you have trouble writing.
Alternatively, you could record your story using a dictaphone and get the narrative transcribed, and then edit the printed script.
You could also use a ghostwriter to write your memoir. You sit with the writer and tell them your story, and they will take notes and hand you a finished manuscript.
No matter what method you choose, the most important thing is to write.
There are four different memoirs: transformative journey, history, confessional, and teaching. Each type of memoir has another purpose and will be structured differently. Choose the memoir that best suits your story and your goals for writing it. Keep in mind who your audience is and be honest with your story. Your story is worth sharing.