What Changes in Your Memoir?

A well-told story always involves change—the main character is lost and unable to function in the world and, as the book proceeds, he finds his way through the maze of life to a new understanding of what it means to be a citizen of our world. Memoir is no exception to this rule of change. Even in the shortest of stories, something must be different at the end. A new understanding is gained, a new self-assurance is found, a new way of looking at a situation is created.

When writing your own story, look for the growth stages in your life. How did you manage to raise children, work full-time and volunteer for a cause every week? How did you survive after the death of a spouse? How did you work your way through depression into a brighter world?

Look for the changes in your life to find your story.

P.S. Don’t forget! I’m giving away a free edit for my birthday month of October. To be eligible to win, all you need do is comment on this post. Tell me what you’re writing about (or hoping to write about). I’d love to hear from you. One person will win a ten-page edit — a great way to see if your story is working on the page.



  1. Jennifer Moreen
    Oct 10, 2012

    Hi Angela,

    I took the Beginning Memoir class you taught at The Loft in July and have been utilizing your recommendations in my writing ever since. I look forward to another of your classes!

    Your post about October being your birthday month really touches me; I agree completely about “Happy birthday to me!” and the thankfulness for having a birthday each year.

    I am working on a memoir and would love for you to edit it. My plan is to contact you when I’m finished but finishing seems to be taking a long time! The memoir is about the past few years of my life. In 2009, when I was 38 years old, I had a heart attack very unexpectedly. This event opened the door to test after test, problem after problem, resulting in diagnosis of a rare condition of the arteries. But, the reason I decided to start writing is that this heart attack and subsequent issues really changed how I feel about life and how I participate in it. In a way I feel my life started over and is more fulfilling, authentic and fun. My story is dramatic — my heart attack happened at a truck stop while on a ski trip vacation in the mountains out west; the most likely scenario for the course of events and circumstances would have resulted in my death rather than living.

    I think the story is worth telling but I have doubts because, although I’ve always loved to write, this is the first attempt at having something published. But, it’s worth a try!

    Thank you for considering my memoir for the free edit!

    Jennifer Moreen

    • affoster22
      Oct 10, 2012

      Jennifer, This sounds like a great story! Certainly one people would enjoy reading. I’ll let you know if you win the edit!

  2. Care Anderson
    Oct 16, 2012

    Hi Angela,

    I am working on my crafting my Memoir.

    My story is one of abuse within the church. I have started and stopped many times in the process of writing, as I needed time and distance to heal from such darkness put upon my life.

    A free 10 page edit would offer me a great chance to see if my voice is strong.

    • affoster22
      Oct 16, 2012

      I think we talked about this memoir before, didn’t we? I’ll let you know if you win! Please tell your writer friends to comment also.

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