I’m thrilled to be kicking off the new Christmas #Bookfair Series at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Invitation. Once again, the generous Sally is featuring her blog contributors where she’ll feature our books that are part of Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore shelves and invited us to write something about our writing. Naturally, I wrote about writing in #Memoir.
Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Guest Post – D.G. Kaye – Writing in Memoir
Delighted that author D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) is kicking off the Christmas guest posts for this year’s book fair.
As someone who has read all her memoir and non-fiction books, I can think of no better person to share some very important aspect of memoir writing….how it can expose us to experiences that are painful to recall and the inclusion of real people in your life, who might not necessarily agree with your assessment of your relationship, or who might be offended.
Whether writing a novel or writing a memoir, the process is similar with different components. Some may think writing in memoir is easier than creating fictional stories, but the story must still be created, even though taken from our own experiences, facts still must be checked. There can also be added emotional stress when writing such stories as we are forced to relive, sometimes, painful memories.
The process of focusing on past painful events, writing about them, rereading them in revisions and edits can become emotionally draining and sometimes depressing at points. I liken the process of writing my memoirs to going to therapy sessions where I’m baring my raw self and soul to a specialist in search of resolution from the conflict. There can be dark moments when we go back to some unpleasant places in time. I find in those times; I need to step away from my work to distance myself from my story to decompose for awhile.
As memoir writers, it’s our job to tell the truth and convey our stories from our own truth, the way we experienced it. The truth is not made to be sugar-coated or exaggerated. Characters in our stories shouldn’t be adorned for more than who they were just to sensationalize. The purpose of our stories is to keep the readers engaged by allowing them to form their own emotion from what we deliver. The story isn’t a place for us to present ourselves as self-centered or heroic, nor is it to invoke sympathy from the reader, but rather to engage our readers into the stories we tell, allowing them as readers to develop their own emotion from the story, and hopefully gain some insight for themselves from the material they’ve read.
It takes a special blend of courage to be able to write in memoir, first by having to face some unpleasant memories, and then once published, exposing our most intimate stories to the world.
We must also pay attention to the real people who are our characters in our stories. Often, the people we write about are flawed. These people shouldn’t be taken by surprise when finding out they are in someone’s book, finding their flaws exploited publicly. It’s important to learn the infringement laws about libel, slander, defamation of character, and invasion of privacy to protect ourselves from potential lawsuits. If the people we write about concern us with these issues, it’s always best to get permissions from them in writing. Although this may sound like an awkward task, it’s well worth doing to avoid possible repercussions and lawsuits.
Two important things to keep in mind to help avoid potential lawsuits are . . .please continue reading at Sally’s blog.