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Memoir Writing No-Nos


1. "I remember(ed)" – We know you are remembering. That’s what a memoir is.


2. "I don’t remember..." If you don’t, we sure don’t. Tell us what you DO remember!


3. "It seemed" – "Seemed" is wishy washy, equivocating. Replace with “it was.”


4. "It was almost as if..." – Could you be more unsure?


5. "I’m not sure what happened next but..." If you’re not sure, why mention it at all?


All of these suck the drama out of your work. In your early drafts, as you plumb the depts of your memories, it's common to use these terms. When editing, you switch to considering the needs of the reader. Once it is ready to show others, you have done the remembering and not remembering. Now you must only tell what is important to the memoir.


Memoir is storytelling. Ask yourself if the above add to your story. I think you'll find that they don't.

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