Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How Much Detail For a Memoir?

I began writing some stuff for my possible memoir.  One thing I'm afraid of is using real names and fearing anger from those people. There was one girl I hated for so long. I didn't even mention my family members by name in my preliminary writing.

Is a memoir really a good way to go?  How much detail do you need?  It isn't supposed to the same as an autobiography, so says this link:

Choose the right story to tell. Keep in mind as well that a memoir is not really the same thing as an autobiography; often, a memoir only deals with a single subject or a certain time in your life. What are the compelling and engaging stories of your life? Which of those stories would make a great memoir?

And from Wikipedia:
A memoir (from French: mémoire: memoria, meaningmemory or reminiscence) is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private that took place in the subject's life.[1][2] The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has historically been defined as a subcategory of biography or autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. A biography or autobiography tells the story of a life, while a memoir often tells a story from a life, such as touchstone events and turning points from the author's life. The author of a memoir may be referred to as a memoirist.

I am trying to concentrate on my depression and what I am terming my "Prozac journey" and how I came to terms with this all.  I see this as a series of delays and detours on my journey.  I have written a prologue, giving some introduction to how I came to terms with my depression and how I came to write my story.  I then began some descriptions of how I didn't quite fit in and didn't seem like most other kids. I had several recollections that fit this and kept some brief and to the point. I did not quote any dialogue [can't remember all that for sure :-) ].  And some I did not tell a lot of detail of.  But then, I am only beginning. I am now trying to decided how many specific events I need to recall that seemed to have contributed to my depression tendencies.  

Tell the truth. Too many memoir writers have been publicly and embarrassingly brought down by taking creative licence a little too far. If you’re veering too far into fantasy, call it a novel, not a memoir.

I'm only beginning, perhaps I could try a fictionalized memoir? What I have written sounds like  memoir, and a fictionalized can be written in first person as can be a true memoir.  But a novel can be written in third person as well.  Trying to come up with names for a fictional character isn't easy. If I did this, I'd try to avoid overly used ones, but not use something overly cute. As someone who reads more fiction and once dreamed of writing a novel, this is seeming hard to do. But as I said, I'm afraid of using real names in a "truthful" memoir.  How will they react if the book becomes a reality?  I read a little of everything, but tend to read more fiction than nonfiction. Would it make sense to write fiction, then?

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