Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Memoir Project—A Throughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing and Life by Marion Roach Smith

I first picked up this book because the title caught my attention. How often we hear about the importance of first sentences—the hook line, paragraph. Creating a title for a story is important, but selecting the title for a book may be what gets the browser to pick up a book.

I've read several books about memoir and yet still anticipate finding something new—revelatory.

Marion Smith Roach quotes Hemingway's words—What you leave out of a story is perhaps more important than what you put in.

And just because something happened doesn't mean that it was either interesting or fits in with the story you're trying to tell. I like the fact that she reminds writers that you are not the story, that readers must relate to what the piece is about.

What is your purpose?

"If it's something that happened to me, does it become universal?"

"Think of memoir as laying out only a few cards..., from an entire deck, one at a time."

Each card moves the story forward— adding to the story you are trying to tell. Scenes. You are writing scenes.

While I didn't read anything particularly new, I did like the way the book was constructed and the emphasis on scenes.

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