Any advice?

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Thread: Any advice?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    United States

    Any advice?

    I'm currently working on a memoir, mostly detailing my experiences with my illness. I've written a few pages, started a few different sections. But I'm kinda stuck. Can't think of where to go from here.

    One reason I'm kinda stuck is that I'm trying to track down old medical records that will help me accurately tell my backstory. I don't want to write pages and pages and find out it was based on a flaw in my remembering.

    Another reason I'm stuck is that I'm just not a very good storyteller. I know it's a craft, and I'll get better at it the more I do it. But since I don't recall many details, I have a hard time creating a life-like background for my story.

    I know I can just write what I remember, start with the more recent stuff. But I'm just stuck.

  2. #2
    Hello jaime. Not sure how much help I can be, but I can tell you how
    I would look at something like this.

    I would start with writing down everything that I know to be true.
    Medical records be damned.

    If the medical records show something different, I would find value
    in finding out why my memory and the records differ. That could be
    the story itself if looked at in the proper light.

    Just one perspective.

    I hope that your story becomes unstuck.


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by jamie65672 View Post
    One reason I'm kinda stuck is that I'm trying to track down old medical records that will help me accurately tell my backstory. I don't want to write pages and pages and find out it was based on a flaw in my remembering.
    You might not get the details bang on, but who cares? People are more likely to engage with your emotional experience of the illness, not the technical aspects. Memory is flawed for perfect recall, but for constructing a personal narrative it is brilliant. Write that narrative - and if you later get the details you can compare it to your memory.

    As for the writing itself, it's just practice.

  4. #4
    You might want to buy some similar, published memoirs on Amazon and study them for tips.

  5. #5
    No one wants to read your medical records verbatim. They want to read about your experiences, your impressions, and the things you felt. If the specific details of your medical condition dropped from memory, then it is because they did not make an impression on you. Focus on those things that stood out, tell us about your pain, your fears, and your struggles.

  6. #6
    WF Veteran Winston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Principality of Poyais, Mosquito Coast
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    For your type of story, I might suggest using a format where you walk the reader through one of your "typical days" while ill.
    During the narration, you could use flashbacks to important points that got you to where you are today. And talk about your plans for the future to round things out.

    The reader doesn't want details of your illness. Your job is to make them want details of you.
    Opportunities abound! Land and titles available! Be bold! Enquire now!
    See Cazique Gregor MacGregor of details.

  7. #7
    Please pardon me if I am being presumptuous, but if you are stuck after having already begun the writing process, it indicates to me that perhaps you have not done an outline. Would that be correct? If you have a general structure set for the memoirs that are based on your experience, then you should be able to write a fairly complete work and then fill in more meticulous details once you get them.

    If you structure the work something to the effect of 'signs that something was wrong/dealing with the illness/getting back on my feet' (or however you would like to do it), you can write a pretty thorough work and go back to the records when you have them to fill in the gaps. That way, you can work on what's ahead first before going to the middle section or beginning.
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