Woo-hoo! I’ve reached it. The finish line for writing my memoir, Accidental Soldier! (I’d love it if you could “LIKE” my Facebook fan page, by the way – I’m just 3 likes away from 200!) When I look back, I remember tons of heavy-lifting. I remember the inner fighting I had with myself when my editor kept asking more and more what felt like nagging questions, and I thought I was going to die.
But now that the beta reader comments are coming in, I realize how important it was for me to write about this experience.
Kathy Pooler from A Memoir’s Journey just sent this in as an endorsement to the book:
A young woman finds her voice and her inner strength by challenging herself to step outside her comfort zone and volunteer for the Israeli Defense Forces. With raw honesty and vivid prose, Sasson brought me so close to the experience, I could taste the ethnic food, see the beautiful landscape and feel both the pain of her struggles and the triumph of her growth and transformation.
At the end, Kathy gave me an entire file of comments supporting why my memoir was so compelling.That’s what I call going beyond the line of duty as a beta reader!
Each time I post another installment about my memoir writing and publishing process, many comment saying they can’t see themselves writing a memoir or they don’t even know where to start because they have so many stories and it’s impossible to choose.
I’ll add my two cents that a memoir needs to be deeply compelling. Your reader needs to care about the character. So out of all the stories you have to write about, how do you gauge which one is the most compelling and worth writing?
Granted the premise behind my memoir is unique and fresh, (you don’t read a memoir about an American going off to volunteer for the Israel Defense Forces every day) every story can be made compelling. Here’s how:
1. You must feel passionate about your story. Believe me, you won’t want to sit through hours and hours of toil and trouble, edits and rewrites if you don’t feel that special kind of passion for your character and what’s at stake for him/her. You’ll also need a ton of energy for marketing so you can talk about your book with passion. This passion will also fuel your WHY on those bad writing days.
2. You need to continue with the writing no matter what. As you write, you’ll slowly unravel the riddle about your character and what makes you care about him, but that can’t be done if you don’t have your butt in chair as they say.
3. You need to discern between incident and story. As Jeff Goins says, “Just because it happened doesn’t make it interesting.Your memories always mean more to you than they do to other people. If you’re writing memoir, then you need to do some digging and figure out the central theme as part of your universal truth. Are you writing about finding courage to be your own person? Could it be your story is about finding your own voice either in another country(like mine) or with a new identity as a mother? Remember, there are many coming-of-age memoirs out there, and make sure yours is fresh.
I’ll say it again – compelling in both fiction and non-fiction is really the magic word for writers because it’s up to you to make the reader care up until the very end of your story. The most validating moment was getting an email from another beta reader who wrote, “Yay! Your memoir’s working! Your reader cares!
Blogging is one way to help build a platform around your compelling memoir and get your readers to care about your story.
This simple to follow 6 day e-course will help you learn the steps to blogging your compelling story while building a “caring platform.”
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