Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to select the right words when telling your memoir

As a professional ghostwriter this is the biggest challenge to writing memoirs. It takes getting in the head of the author and letting the story flow from the source.

Johnny Ray
Award winning Novelsit
Memoir ghostwriter

Memoirs: How to Touch Others With Your Words

By: Sandra Haven

Memoirs are great ways to related things to readers, for instance to inform, to educate, and to entertain them. These all address the value that any writing has to the reader. Writing, especially memoirs, can have another value -- one to the writer. A memoir can provide a powerfully cathartic value to the writer. As an editor since 1990, I've read many a memoir and I applaud writers for expressing the often confusing, occasionally ridiculous and sometimes amazing experiences that made up their lives. But I really admire those who take the heart-wrenching journey of writing about the dreadfully painful experiences that molded them into the people they are today. This is a valuable step in the writer's own healing.

Writing For Yourself -- Many writers are unable to finish something of this magnitude simply because of the pain involved. So anyone who completes a memoir should feel very proud of himself. And once written, the writer might consider the journey to be ended. Afterall, he has fulfilled the need: to get it out of himself, spilled onto paper, freeing himself from the solitary burden carried for so many years. And that is fine. No one needs to go further; once written, the memoir can be set aside, its duty done.

Writing for Others -- However, many memoir writers intend to publish their words for friends and family or to find a publisher to spread their story to a larger audience. That is another entire journey. Because then the manuscript must fulfill another need, one for the reader. So if you are writing a memoir and you want it to be read by others, you should ask yourself what you want the reader to take away.

Use the "Showing" Technique -- Most likely you want to share your life, to make what you experienced a valuable experience for the reader too. With this in mind, remember to avoid "telling" readers about your life. Every time you address the reader as "you" or tell us how to think, what to watch for, or how to respond, you are telling us we can't figure it out on our own. Readers will not respond favorably to this approach. They can even doubt your perceptions, wondering if they were, in fact, accurate.

Instead show your life. Let the experiences speak for themselves in the sensory descriptions and clear details that let the reader feel the sorrow or sense the joy in each incident. If we can see the way you were treated, then we feel we are there too, treated that same way. We know the experience is true because we feel it for ourselves. We'll experience what you experienced. The sharing will be complete.

Remember, memoirs are not just dates and names and facts lined up across your years. Let us experience the emotions you felt in sensory ways. Emotions are the most valuable tool any writer has. Show a strong emotion in one sentence and readers will understand with greater depth and impact than pages and pages of explanations ever would.

Memoirs are powerful tools to free the author's spirit and to add an extra dimension to the reader's life too!

About the Author

Sandra E. Haven has had her writing published in the U.S. and Europe--from short fiction to articles, mainstream to genre. Since 1990 she has provided editing services specializing in content, characterization, plot, tone and continuity. She deals in most fiction genres with an emphasis on mysteries, fantasies, and stories for children as well as memoirs. For more information see Bristol Editing Services.

(ArticlesBase SC #420708)

Article Source: - Memoirs: How to Touch Others With Your Words

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How long does a memoir have to be?

There is no specific length. It can be as short as an article in the paper posted the days after one dies to a full length 100,000 plus novel or autobiography. It can focus on one event and make a great short story, or a period in ones life making a short story of around 3500 to 5000 words.

A novella is the next step up and covers a slightly longer or more in depth look at life with around 20,000 words. This gives the author room to expand the story and give it some substance while keeping it short enough to make it a doable project for most.

A short novel is around the 50,000 word range. This gives the author room to further explore life and to introduce other characters to the reader. Much more of a time period can be covered.

The full works of a full length novel can take a while to write and covers the complete story. The entire message the author wants to present can be covered. This takes commitment and time. Research can be time consuming but needed in such a work. A ghost writer will spend a lot of time working on this and is necessary in most cases. The bare minimum for such a project is around $50,000 with the average around $125,000.

Back to the shorter versions like the short story a persons life can be captured easily and affordable. Many people want their life to be remembered and there can be no better way than with a memoir, hopefully authored by the one the story is about, but it doesn't have to be. It could be told my a loving spouse or child in memory of the life they remember.

But, the purpose is to record a life and make it immortal so that life will not be forgotten. The length is totally up to the author.

Johnny Ray
Award winning Novelist
Memoir ghostwriting services

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is your memoir a reflection of your true life or the way you wish it was?

A memoir is a way to make sure your life does not go unnoticed. The accomplishments and victories are hard earned by most people and many times the rewards do not match the efforts put forth. Many times it is hard for one to toot their own horn. But, as life comes closer to an end the efforts need to be acknowledged. The life built for the family needs to be appreciated.

When looking back on your life many parts of it will appear different after time has elapsed. While the struggles were so miserable at the time, the future rewards have made it all worthwhile. However, the struggles need to be remembered and the current generation needs to know what it cost and to not take it lightly.

In looking back you could paint a world as it was or as you wish it was. It is only human nature to paint your life as one people will like and respect. This one aspect of writing your memories is very important in coming to grip with before you start writing. Many people assume life to be a certain way when n reality it may be far from the truth.

So, how do you want your life remembered? Would you want it in your own words or the words of others who only could guess your true story? It is your legacy you are going to pass on. And, you are the only one that can tell it right.

Johnny Ray
Award winning Novelist
Memoir Ghostwriting Service

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Memoirs can be so diverse,ranging from telling a sorted past of abuse and setting the record straight to honoring a loving spouse who has remained faithful to you and supported you your entire life. Everyone will have different goals to accomplish. some write to pass on the legacy of the family and intend for only a few to read them. Others write to be sold and to the masses and want their words of wisdom to be heard.

Determining why you want to write is important and it might take a little soul searching to discover what you want to write about and why you want to take on such a project.

As a professional ghostwriter I understand how the story is the central part of the story that drives everything else. It is what will sustain the author to tell the story that must be told. This is why I started my Memoir Ghostwriting Services.

The following article gives many more ideas on what to include in your memoirs and why you should write your memoirs.

Johnny Ray
Award Winning Novelist

Memoir Writing Help, Memoir Writing Ideas

By: Prakash Sharma

You might not need any memoir writing help, per se, as you know your past and you know quite well how to write, thank you. You might instead just need someone to inspire you, motivate you, give you a nudge--with some memoir writing ideas.

Here are a few prompts to stimulate your memory and to encourage your creativity...of which you have plenty to work with and to share. So do the activities (or at least one), and share them (or it) with loved ones...or with me if you wish. I love reading your memoirs and responding.


Starting on June 17, 1976, Diego and Suzy Goldberg, of Buenos Ares, Argentina, photographed head shots of each member of the day every year. Of course, they started as a family of two--Diego and Suzy--and have over the years created a photo essay that captures their physical growth (and more) over time.

Visit the website and study the photo essay, "Time" (at magazine/essays/diegotime/time.html).

In words instead of photos, choose one day of your family's life (starting with your parents or guardians and adding you as a child) and describe what you each look like. Do this for one day every year for as many years as you can.


All art is a response to something--other art, an event in our culture, a moment in history. Look at the photos (on or anywhere on the web, and write a page or two of your immediate associations with that picture.

For example, look at the photo of the old 50’s drive-in. What is the first memory that comes up for you? Who was involved? Who was absent and why? What sounds do you recall as predominant that day? What smells were there? What colors do you recall? How did you feel on that day?


At the bottom of the page of my site are two pictures. One is clearly related to the movie theatre, as it features a crowd of men and women (of the 40’s?) standing outside The Dixie Theatre, all facing the camera; and the other has to do with the stage (and movies...later), as it is an artistic rendering of Othello pulling back the bedchamber curtains and peering in at a sleeping Desdemona. Decide what one play or movie influenced you the earliest.

What was the name of the play or film? When did you first see it? What impact did it have on you? For instance, if you and your family were poor and you only saw one movie when you were a kid, maybe you grew up to love movies or work in the movie industry.

Maybe, instead, you saw a play every year with your since deceased uncle, and were inspired to go into theatre or to study literature. Write whatever you want about one movie or play, and then email me with the draft(s) for a response and more encouragement if you wish.

Finished with these prompts?

There are more lessons in Memoir Writing for Our Elders.

Note: The black and white photo below may remind you of something other than your first movie experience. Go for that draft, too!

And stop in every month for new prompts and/or a response to your creative memoir writing if you’d like. I know I’d love it if you

About the Author

For More Free Resources visit

(ArticlesBase SC #370641)

Article Source: - Memoir Writing Help, Memoir Writing Ideas

Monday, September 13, 2010

What length does a memoir have to be?

There are no required lengths. It can be a complete story of one’s life such as an autobiography and run into the hundreds of thousands of word, to a very short story, perhaps even a profile accounting of one’s life.

However, in general a full length book is generally considered to be around 100,000 words. A short novel is around 50,000 words and a novella around 16,000 to 20,000 words. It all depends on what the author wants to focus one.

In this post I will concentrate on the novella. This size is short and concise and can be used to tell a specific part of one’s life. A memoir can be about you as a person or someone else close to you. It can also be about two people’s life together. There are no rules if one wants these to be left to the author’s friends and relatives. It is the perfect way to pass on a legacy.

One does not have to be rich and famous to author their memoirs. What is needed is a story that must be told. As an example let us explore the guy who has been married for a long time to a woman that passes away. He now has many grandchildren and great grandchildren. And as all parents know there is a time when the children and grandchildren ask, “How did you meet mother, or perhaps grandmother, etc.” Each time the story is one told with fond memories of that special time. This is all that is needed to set the memoir into a story form best suited for a memoir in novella length.

Why not make a romance from a story in your past? It could be the best way to honor a spouse you walked through life with. There could be no better way to pass on values and morals to a future generation. It can also be a way to tell a hot romance that no one would suspect. Real names could be used or written as a novella where only those close to the story would ever know the facts were true.

By writing a novella rather than a full novel the time to write it is reduced to a workable project. Also the cost of hiring a ghostwriter is reduced to a sum that can be affordable by most people. If the project gains interest it can always be expanded or additional novellas added to complete one’s life works.

I work as a ghostwriter and always looking for an interesting story that must be told. The sooner the project is started the better as most of the information is stored in one’s memories. I also plan to have an e-book on how to write your own memoir soon. I hope everyone interested in this will follow this blog as I post tips on writing your memoirs while I finish the work on this how to book. And as always remember me if you know of anyone needing my Memoir Ghostwriting Services

Johnny Ray
Award Winning novelist

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Considerations in writing your memoirs.

One of the main concerns for many people wanting to write their memoirs is who to leave in and who to leave out. In both cases peoples feelings can be hurt. If this is addressed early on the whole project can go much faster and smoother. A good memoir is one where the author is free to discuss topics openly. this quality is what make memoirs so intriguing to readers. Please check out my memoir ghostwriting services at

Johnny Ray
Award Winning Novelist

The Dangers of Memoir Writing

By: Linda Joy Myers

I have taught memoir writing for many years, and have always encouraged people to write their personal stories. After all, my belief is that writing is good for you, it is healing–I have seen this many times for myself and for others–and it frees the writers to move on to other new levels of interacting with their memories.

Of course, in all my classes and workshops we discuss the issues of family–the writer’s worry about how family will react to their stories, will it make things worse? Will they be attacked or judged for what they say on the page–this is assuming that they show their writing to others or are published.

But recently I have found from interactions with an older generation in my family, it doesn’t matter if I wrote my truth. It doesn’t matter if I stand behind the story I told. It doesn’t matter if I have not named names or told the most secret stories.

What matters is that I have written anything about the family. What matters is that I have written a book, and told stories about the family, benign though they were. This appears to be threatening. I have discovered that people may judge you for writing even if they have not read the book, that they may project their own imagined fears and perhaps guilt–about what we may never know–onto the person who takes the risk to speak out, to write, to publish.

I always felt that I was safe from retribution in writing Don’t Call Me Mother because the people I write the most about–my mother, grandmother and father, the main characters in the book, were dead. I knew they wouldn’t like it, but I knew that I had to tell the take of the generations of mothers who had abandoned their daughters. I also wanted to honor my Iowa family and tell the stories of how I felt loved and accepted there, how my great-grandmother and great aunts and uncles had made me feel less abandoned.

I left out the molesting uncles, I left out the confrontation with one of them later in my life. I left out what I felt were stories that would distract from my main story about the mothers. But who knows if the legacy of sexual abuse is not part of their story too? I heard rumors about grandfathers and uncles who were “to be watched out for.” I heard stories about hands up little girl’s dresses. I knew that my grand mother ran away from her grandparent’s home when she was 16. I don’t know why. I do know that she expressed a deep hatred of men when she was raising me. What roots did that have?

I write all this because I see that no matter how hard we may try not to offend and how much we have tried to protect family members, it still may not work. You may find yourself, as I did recently, on the receiving end of an attack, judged and perhaps feared.

Perhaps the pen is the mightiest tool of all. Perhaps we must be prepared for anything. Perhaps writing is a warrior’s path.

But I still say to the writers out there: write your truth, write for yourself. Protect yourself from the judgments of others as long as you can. But if you are published, be prepared for anything.

Writing Invitations

1. Make a list of the people whom you do not want to offend.

2. Make another list of those whose secrets you know.

3. Write about the secrets and shame-based issues in your family in your journal to clear them out of your head.

4. Look over your memoir and make a list of the stories that implied, even if you had not written them, certain secrets and truths based on what you know about the family.

Don’t tell family members what you are writing about—personal stories or a memoir—until you are finished. It keeps the outer critic from becoming your inner critic.

6. When you are finished, you can change the names of the guilty or the innocent, but if they will know who they are when you publish your work, you need to tell them at this point what you are doing.

7. Consult a literary attorney for advice if you have legal concerns about your writing.

About the Author

Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., the author of Becoming Whole: Writing Your Healing Story, is a workshop and conference coach for writing as a transformative process. Her prize-winning memoir Don’t Call Me Mother is the recipient of the 2006 Gold Medal Award from BAIPA, Bay Area Independent Publishing Association.

Becoming Whole has been used as a text by therapists, ministers, and writing coaches. A licensed clinical therapist, Myers demonstrates the power of a memoir to bridge, integrate, and heal the past.

(ArticlesBase SC #204047)

Article Source: - The Dangers of Memoir Writing

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

How to write your memoirs by hiring a Ghostwriter

This has to be one of the most interesting questions many people ask themselves later in life after putting it off for years. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is unique. What is your legacy and how will it be preserved if you don't write it.

A memoir is different from an autobiography is that it is much shorter and can be written in a more novel type style. The names can be changed to protect those around the author.

I am actively looking for an interesting story to preserve and make into an unforgettable novel or memoir if you wish. I will be writing a series of articles on the what,why.where,when,who, etc of a memoir and hope everyone will contribute to the post.

For more information on my memoir ghost writing services please check out my new site at

Johnny Ray
Award winning novelist