A memoir is a personal, non-fiction writing where the author (memoirist) writes about their life, using first-person narrative. It is a book that tells the events in an author’s life. Unlike biography and history writing, this book reveals first-hand accounts of experiences in an author’s life.

It focuses on a particular aspect of the writer’s life, which could be their personal or professional life. It could also come in form of an informative book, such as a personal food recipe or a travel experience book.

To effectively collate your experiences to produce a compelling Memoir, you need a well-structured outline. Therefore, as you prepare to write your memoir, you have to organise lots of incongruent experiences to arrive at what is known as a narrative arc.

How to Outline Your Memoir in Four Steps

 1. Arrange possible events in chronological order.

Doing this helps you understand how everything happened. This is not to say that your final work would be well-arranged, but it would give you a sense of how each event happened. Nonetheless, you can twist the memoir to fit any style later.

2. Start writing your narrative arc.

A story arc can also be referred to as the narrative arc. It is a term used to describe the plot of your story.

Are you a newbie or wondering why it is called an arc?

It is called an ‘arc’ because of the different grades of actions that are discussed to make up the memoir.

That being said, in this step, you will start writing your narrative arc by rearranging the events into a captivating story. There are two ways to do this:

You can either follow the chronology of the events as they happened to you or alter the chronology and use a backstory to tell the missing story later in the future.

A backstory is necessary so that there are no plot holes in your story. It also helps to carry your readers along.

3. Choose the Perfect Ending.

No matter where you choose to start your story, always have the end in mind. A good book or memoir is always written to fit a certain conclusion. So, while you’re writing, consider the ending you want to give your readers and let your story structure lead to that point.

4. Centre the Story Around You.

Like every other story, your memoir has a ‘main character’ and that’s you! Never make the mistake of shifting the focus from you. Represent yourself accurately at all levels of your memoir.

PS: Finalise the Story Arc of Your Memoir.

However you choose to organise the story arc of your memoir, use the outline as a roadmap to every stage of your story. The way you present your story will determine if the book will be interesting or not.


Before writing the first draft of your memoir, outline the key elements and structure. This will particularly be important if it’s your first time writing this kind of book project. Use the four steps you’ve learned in this article to organise and tell your story more effectively.

Do you wish to write a memoir but don’t have the time? Contact us now!

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