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How Do I Not Sound Boring?

I’ve been writing for years but it really wasn’t until I took a creative nonfiction writing class. Embellishing details of the truth doesn’t mean you’re lying. Adding elements of fiction such as characters, point of view, structure and conflict to name a few, only enriches your story. I could write my DNA discovery two different ways:

  • I looked at the results that my sister and I were 100% half siblings.

  • I stared at the results as if I had the power to change them. My sister and I are 100% half siblings. I’ve always heard that nothing is 100%, but here it was staring back at me.

The first example simply states the facts. The second, however, states the facts with feelings of disbelief and longing. Readers will engage more with the second example. They may think back to their DNA discovery reaction or be grateful that they never had to go through something like this. Either way, your readers will want to follow the journey with you.

That is creative nonfiction writing. If readers want to read facts and only facts, they can read a police blotter. Readers want to be a part of a story. They want to get lost in your journey. True stories have the opportunity to bring out emotions in your readers when done eloquently and truthfully. This brings us to our next, and last, key point in writing a memoir, create an emotional journey.

When I read that result, after staring at it for a while, I called my sister and heard the sadness on her end as well. Here we were, miles apart, trying to understand this. Our parents were gone, we were in our late 50’s and learning something that shocked both of us. My sister being older meant mom had an affair. That is when my journey to find the truth really started.

An opening like this could give the impression that the reader is going on an emotional journey: the players (our parents) are gone, neither my sister nor I can understand this, obviously there was infidelity on our mother’s part, and one of us (me) begins a journey that was never, ever expected to take.

This is the writing that draws in the readers. Those who have taken DNA tests “for fun” and find out secrets will relate. Their interest is piqued as to how my journey went (or is going).

So, there you have it, 7 key points to writing your memoir.

Next week: The Autobiography: Is my life that interesting?

Until next time…

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