Kori Morgan reports:
"While the past can be easily forgotten, it is through the memoir genre of literature that writers preserve it. A memoir is a personal essay about a significant memory in the author's life that uses narrative devices like setting, character and dialogue. Molding your chosen memory to an appropriate structure, using vivid detail and examining the memory's significance can help you write a strong memoir...You can write about your first job, a favorite family activity, a childhood toy you enjoyed or a special relationship with a friend or relative. For example, poet and author Naomi Shihab Nye wrote her essay 'Mint Snowball' about a favorite homemade ice cream treat from her childhood. Choose a memory that has special significance or meaning to develop into an essay...A memoir offers the freedom to portray your experience with a creative structure. You might choose to begin with the present day, then tell the story as a flashback, write the story out of sequence or write it in different, related sections. Thinking about what structure best fits your memory will help you come up with ideas...Vivid, specific detail transforms a memory into a memoir. One way to include detail in your essay is to think about how the five senses figure into your story -- what colors, smells, sounds and textures are most associated with the events. Then, you can use those details as you begin to create the story...Making the details as specific as possible will make them come alive for the reader...All stories should include dynamic, memorable characters dealing with conflict. Describing the key players in your story and creating their voices in dialogue will make them easier to visualize. In memoirs, conflict is typically the emotions the author is attempting to sort out or make sense of. In the memoir about holiday traditions, the conflict could be the sense of nostalgia you feel because your whole family is rarely together anymore, perhaps because siblings have gone off to college. Telling the story can be your way of returning to a happy moment in the past...By the end, readers should have a clear idea of why this memory is so important to you. Memoir is a creative form that lets you conclude your essay in a way that fits the piece. You don't have to explicitly state that holiday baking taught you the importance of family time; instead, you could contrast the feeling of togetherness in the past with the loneliness of making cookies by yourself. Whether you state it directly or use literary devices like imagery, make sure your audience knows why the event was significant."
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