Insecure Writer’s Support Group–My First Post

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeIt’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group Wednesday. I signed up last week when I learned of the group and its requirement to post each first Wednesday of the month. So here’s my challenge for the week.

I know I have to prepare a synopsis of my memoir. I know I should prepare an outline. I know these things, but I’m having trouble getting started.

One reason for the problem is that preparing an outline suggests I have control over the events to include in it. But the events as they happened don’t fit so neatly into the hero’s journey or the 15 essential plot points.

I can reorganize the scenes to fit the desired order, but then the story wouldn’t be as it happened. It wouldn’t be “true.”

Is it appropriate to be creative with the timeline for a memoir?


14 responses to “Insecure Writer’s Support Group–My First Post”

  1. Welcome to the IWSG!

    I don’t have any advice for you re the synopsis and the outline. I’m not good at either! But I wish you good luck! 🙂

    1. Thanks Madeline. Good luck back to you on your backpack reorganizing. I tossed a lot of letters I had been keeping for some later writing project and now I really wish I had them around again. But I’m finding inspiration in other places so I know I didn’t really need to keep them. There was a bigger, more important reason for getting rid of them.

    1. Thanks cluculzwriter for the links. I’m discovering each day how much of a cooperative effort writing is–not the isolated image I started out with.

  2. I think it is. I’m not 100 percent familiar with how it works, but I’m sure events are rearranged a little to make it work, right? Life doesn’t happen in as neat and tidy a manner as entertainment wants it to!


    1. Thanks Stephie5741. I know I’m not alone in my wish to remain faithful to event chronology. But if it takes too much reorganizing to make the story entertaining, I’ll just turn it into a novel.

  3. Hi,

    I’m not an expert on writing memoirs, or even on writing in general, but I’m currently in a Creative Nonfiction class and I’ll offer my opinion. Feel free to take it or leave it as you see fit.

    Although events in life happen in chronological order, sometimes a different organizational structure is more effective for writing. As long as the order is logical, and you make it clear that it isn’t meant to be chronological, I think reorganizing the structure of a memoir is perfectly acceptable. You’re the one telling your story, so it’s your choice how to relay the information to the reader. However, some stories lend themselves to a certain structure better than others. I would play around with different methods of organization and determine which seems best for what you are trying to do. If you’re unsure how to go about using a different structure for your memoir, I would do some research to find examples of similar pieces to help provide some ideas.

    I hope this helps you! Either way, good luck!

    1. Thanks WishfulWordsmith. I will keep your thoughts in mind as I put together my outline and synopsis.

      1. You’re very welcome. I hope it helped!

  4. Sandra, I came across your blog by reading a post on Tao Te Ching Daily. I am certainly not an expert on memoirs, but let me share a thought. From reading some of your book reviews, it is clear that you already know a whole lot about the genre and know that memoirs come in many different forms. You seem like someone who has good stories to tell and you write well. Listen to your muse and you will recognize the form for you.

    Personally, I never wanted to write a memoir, as such. However, when I turned 65 years old I felt that I had learned a few things that are worth passing on, and also thought that some day my children or grandchildren may want to know something about my life. I had a blog, so for the next 65 days I wrote a separate post about things that had happened in my life – “65 years in 65 days.” Each was a separate essay, averaging about 1000 words that focused on some event associated with my experiences and containing some moral or thought that might be worth remembering.

    I am not suggesting that you do that. No, whatever seems right to you will end up being the thing to do.

    1. Louis, thanks for the comment. In 2013 I started a blog with the intention of writing at least 500 words per day for 365 days. Initially it was a struggle to get 500 words written. By the end of the year, I was writing closer to 2000 words each day, most of the pieces about my life. It was a great opportunity to get my memory working and many of those pieces are very early drafts of what I am putting into my memoir. Initially my hope was to share my writing with family and friends, as you did with your 65 pieces.

      Perhaps your 65 pieces could form the basis for your own memoir.

  5. judyreeveswriter Avatar

    Hi Sandra,
    Loved having you in our “Here from There” class. I appreciate all you brought to the class and your lively participation.
    About the memoir and the “arrangement.” Remember last night we talked about “if it works for the story you’re telling, then it works.” You don’t have to follow formula. Put it together the way that tells your story the way you want to tell it and that feels authentic to you.

    1. Thanks, Judy. With each piece I write, I feel as though I am finding the story that is worth sharing. Thanks for the class, As I said last night, every exercise opened up my story so the assignments can fit in.

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