How to Outline a Memoir

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.

Conclusion

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!

How to Write Your Character’s Thoughts

When writing your novel, showing your character’s thoughts is one way to make your story beautiful. Whether it is your protagonist or antagonist, revealing your character’s thoughts is a valuable effect to infuse in your story. It gives your readers insight into the character. Imagine a character that has been portrayed as a good and peaceful person suddenly exhibiting evil intentions.

Other reasons why you may want to write your character’s thoughts include:

  • You can use a character’s thoughts to develop or present your back story.
  • A character’s thoughts will bring your readers into the internal conflict that your character is facing, which will build tension and suspense.
  • Your readers can feel your character’s emotions once they can read his thoughts.

When presenting your character’s thoughts in your story, make the thoughts distinct from the story to avoid confusing the readers.

Here’s how to write your character’s thoughts in four simple but effective ways:

i.          Italicise the thoughts: You can italicise your character’s thoughts to differentiate them from your narrative. This way, your readers can flow with the story without any break.

For example: After John’s statement at the manifesto, the crowd applauded with great pleasure. If only you all knew what was coming.

Most writers use italics when expressing a unique idea within their stories, and this may be a little confusing if you do the same with thoughts. In this case, you can try the next tip.

ii.        Use dialogue tags: A common way to express your character’s thoughts is the use of dialogue tags. That is, the thoughts should end with ‘he/she thought’.

For example: After John’s statement at the manifesto, the crowd applauded with great pleasure. If only you all knew what’s coming, he thought.

This is a lot easier to understand because it stands out clearly as the character’s thought.

iii.       Use quotation marks with dialogue tags: Just like the option above, your character’s thoughts can end with ‘he/she thought’. However, the thought should be encased in quotation marks.

Example: After John’s statement at the manifesto, the crowd applauded with great pleasure. ‘If only you all knew what’s coming’, he thought.

iv.       Use of deep Point of View (POV): When you want to give your readers a deep connection with your character, use deep POV. With this, you can choose to write your character’s thoughts without any major change. All you do is lace thoughts around the story.

For example: After John’s statement at the manifesto, the crowd was so excited. He looked at them with a strange smile as he walked back to his seat; they didn’t know what he had planned for them.

In the end, there’s no one way to express thoughts in your stories. How you choose to do it depends on you and how well you think your readers will comprehend your story.

What other ways do express your character’s thoughts? Kindly share in the comment section below.

Tips For Writing Interview-Based Articles

Compared to other forms of writing, interview-based articles are a little more complicated. This is because of the numerous answers they have to handle and the effort it takes to make these answers coherent enough. The goal of every interview article is to engage readers with insights from the subject’s personality.

Nothing sustains your readers like a well-presented interview article. So, here are a few tips for writing interview-based articles:

i.          Have an organised list of questions: Since every interview article starts with an actual interview, you must first draft a list of well-curated questions. You can do this by researching on your subject, the topic of the interview, and the type of questions to be asked. You can also watch previous interviews that your interviewee has had to find out what questions were asked and others that weren’t. From your research, you can come up with specific questions that will provoke unique answers and make your subject eager to speak.  

ii.        The ace interview session: Once your questions are ready, you can confidently run the interview. Remember that your subject needs to be comfortable and so do you. During the interview, stay in control in order not to overshoot your time range. While you may need to take notes, it is more important to record the interview. This helps to ensure that no information is lost. Don’t be overly optimistic.

Also, try to make the interview session lively. It doesn’t have to be too serious or too friendly; you just need to keep the environment free of tension. This will make the interview interesting and engaging.

iii.       Choose a format: Every article has a format and a style. You can choose to write your article in the form of questions and answers, or a narration, or merge both formats. The choice is yours, just ensure you give your readers a great and meaty experience.

iv.        Clean and polish your article: Once you have decided on a format, write your article following the best practices for the format you have chosen. Your article doesn’t have to be perfect; you just have to put something down first and polish it later. Make sure you take out stall words (like, umm, ermm, you know, and so on) and make your thoughts coherent enough without changing the subject’s message.

Your questions can be written in no particular order. Just start the article with questions that will trigger engaging answers to hold your readers’ attention.

v.         Proofread your article: Like every other article, proofreading is the final stage of writing. You’d want to read through your article thoroughly to ensure it is free of errors. You also want to make sure that your article doesn’t say more than your subject. Remove assumptions and ensure you spell names correctly.

These tips for writing interview-based articles will certainly help you become a better writer.

Are there other tips you employ when writing interview-based articles? Kindly share them with us in the comment section.  

Tips On Writing A Book Title

A perfect title is an essential tool in hooking your readers’ interest because it is part of the first things they will see. This may not be an easy task but you must put in all the effort required in creating a book title that sells your book, one way or the other.

So, your book title must be interesting enough to trigger your readers’ imagination. This is because it needs to hook the readers with the message it conveys.

Here are a few tips to consider in choosing a title for your book.

1. Setting

Every book has a location and a time that makes up the setting. It is creative to coin a possible book title from your book’s settings. To use this method, your book title should reflect or establish the time, tone, or place where your book is set.

2. Keep it short and straightforward

Having a short title is one of the features that can make your book memorable. Unlike lengthy titles, which may lose your audience in a short time, a short title is more powerful and sticks with your readers better.

You may consider titles that are two to five words long. This is short enough to grasp your readers’ attention, and it is easy to find when searched for.

3. Character Names

Are there unique characters in your book? You can name your book after any of your unique characters. It will provide a solid title that will capture your readers’ attention. To determine the perfect character to use, find out who best projects the story. You can also include the character’s unique features, obstacles, or mission in your story or book.

4. Consider your storyline

Your title needs to define what your readers will be getting into. It must correlate with the content of your book. What do you want to achieve at the end of the book?

A book title should intrigue your readers and raise their expectations.

You can ask questions like, ‘What problem is my book solving?’ It will help you to understand your storyline.

5. Be Original

An important thing to note is that you should not use existing titles. You need your book title to be unique and original. Using a current title hinders visibility, especially if the old title already has a high level of visibility.

(Except it is your deliberate strategy to leverage the prevailing name, but be sure you are within the law)

To help you create an original title, carry out proper research on existing book titles, then incorporate unique points from your book into the proposed book.

A captivating book title will grasp your readers’ attention.

To write the perfect book title for your book, practice these few tips or contact us now!

Tips to Build Suspense in Your Story

Every story has a basic storyline and the suspense technique can be applied to all kinds of stories. Suspense involves writing in a way that stimulates your readers’ expectations. It is used to control when and how you reveal certain information.

You can build suspense in two ways: giving the reader too much information or withholding information.

If you are revealing more to the reader than the hero knows, you generate interest. You can call this a dramatic irony. When your hero is expecting someone or something and the reader knows that it will never come or happen, your readers’ anxiety and expectation are heightened.

In the same light, withholding information or revealing only a fragment of what the hero knows would sustain your readers’ interest and causes your readers to seek more details.

Use the following tips to build suspense in your story and hold your readers’ interest.

  1. Introduce a hidden identity.

An excellent tool for creating suspense is introducing a hidden personality, more like a puppet master controlling events from behind. This secret identity is never known, and when you think you’re close to finding him. You lose him again.

  • Present a question in each chapter.

As a storyteller, you should be able to present your readers with a question for each chapter. Every question creates room for suspense in the minds of the reader. ‘How will they make it out of the tunnel?’ ‘Who gave the execution order?’ These are suspense-filled questions that builds suspense into your story.

  • Use cliffhangers.

A cliffhanger leaves a question for the reader at the end of a section of the story. The perfect cliffhanger alters an expected ending to introduce an action event that stops halfway. Leave your reader anticipating another chapter or season of your story by introducing cliffhangers.

  • Constrict a story’s duration.

Put your characters under pressure by compressing the story’s duration. If it should take about a month for a story to happen, constrict it to 2 weeks. Doing this will bring an immense feeling of tension to your characters, thereby creating suspense in your story.

  • Introduce complicated pasts/histories in bits.

Introducing a complicated history in bits will keep the reader unsure about the characters’ past and its effect on the current events in their lives. Withholding information from the past will leave the reader asking questions, especially when the character constantly tries to avoid discussing events that may lead to his past.

Suspense is a unique tool for holding your readers’ attention in any story. By withholding information or giving your readers more information than the hero knows, you build suspense that piques their curiosity. No matter the type of story you’re telling, develop your character around the suspense you’re creating.

Use some of these tips to build suspense in your story. Also, if you want to write adept suspense stories, you can always contact us anytime!