What could be more fascinating and absorbing than reading other people’s life stories? Victoria Twead and Alan Parks are passionate about memoirs, and they wanted to spread the word. Having each written their own, they were inspired to create We Love Memoirs Day, raising awareness of one of the most underestimated reading genres, and encouraging people to record their own memoirs, whatever their age.
Q: Can anyone write a memoir?
Definitely, but the hard part is writing a good one! A memoir needs just as careful construction as any fiction piece. Get that right and readers will flock to it. Our members at Facebook group We Love Memoirs are a lively lot with varied tastes and our authors offer a host of memoirs about subjects such as travel, animals, surviving cancer, abuse, even what it’s like to be a stand-up comedian, midwife or dominatrix.
Q: How do you start a memoir?
Victoria Twead: Me? I keep records and lists of everything, which earned me the nickname of Schindler in the past. I grab a huge piece of paper and draw myself a timeline, and start jotting down notes. Then the hard work of shaping it begins.
Alan Parks: For me I make a note every time something extraordinary happens to us. I am not great at planning and preparation, but when I feel I have enough ‘events’ on my list I start writing.
Q: If there was one tip you could give a beginner what would it be?
Victoria Twead: My tip would be to get your work looked at by complete strangers. Friends and family who love you will never tell you the truth, even if they promise to. So join an online writing group, then later, have your work edited and proofed thoroughly. That’s two tips, sorry!
Alan Parks: Be brave. Not everyone is going to like your story. Sometimes judgements can seem personal, especially in the genre of memoir, but persevere, and you will find it enriching. I also second what Victoria says about editing and proofreading.
Q: Has the personal blog replaced the memoir?
We don’t think so! A blog is like a diary entry but a memoir is a carefully crafted book about a significant chunk of an author’s life. Our members like to read blogs but adore curling up and losing themselves in a good memoir.
Q: Besides We Love Memoirs Day, what is your favorite day of the year?
Victoria Twead: For me, because I live in Spain, probably San Juan Day, the day that marks midsummer with all-night barbecues on the beach, music, bonfires and fireworks. Fantastic!
Alan Parks: My favorite day is always today. I have a ‘seize the day’ attitude and believe life is for living! Other than that I love New Year’s Eve in Spain. Everybody congregates in the city center for a huge party. There are children and adults of all ages there and everyone has a great time without a hint of trouble!
Thanks Victoria and Alan!
August 31st is We Love Memoirs Day, but why wait until then to put pen to paper. Do you think you could start your own memoir?