Narrow the Idea Focus with Memoirs

Writing

Narrow the Idea Focus with Memoirs

Posted on October 19, 2012

Narrow the Idea Focus with Memoirs

When middle and high school students are writing narrative pieces, it's important for us to challenge them to make the process progressively more sophisticated. One way to add sophistication is with memoir writing.

A memoir centers around a moment or event that is life changing and significant. Its purpose is NOT to provide the reader a detailed list of WHAT happened. Memoirs focus on HOW the author felt about the moment. They rely heavily on reflection and the significance of the event. Remember that a narrative is written from the writer's perspective and about how life is different because of a moment.

When asking your students to write a memoir, they need to identify poignant times in their lives. This could be accomplished by creating a life map. Or, create a Character Life Map.

Then, consider adding an element of technology to the pre-writing activity. Use this video to show students how to create their own digital life map and search for a memoir topic or theme.

Writing a memoir requires finding a "destination" worth writing about--or finding several destinations that reveal a common theme.

Check out some of these websites for more information on memoir writing:

  • Creative Writing Now offers interviews, tips, and ideas on memoir writing.
  • This site sponsored by University of Missouri includes many links to helpful videos, lessons plans, and memoir samples.