How to write memoir without saying" then I did this" or "then this happened" dialogue...

When I read back what I've written so far, I want to scream! Its about expereince's I've had, a life story, but reads like "then this happened, and that happened... I hate it.

What can do to make it interesting? More detailed information about each experience..Example:

Then I went up to the Whiskey and ran into so and so. We went to he's house, got naked, and made love in the swimming pool.... then the next day woke up wondering who this was I'd just had crazy sex with... and so went back home.... and bla bla bla....then I did such and such... 

How can I explain the scenes that took place without it sounding like then I did this.... then that... conversation. 

I need help badly... its a great story but I'm not writing it right.... 

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Keep in mind that the most difficult thing about writing one's own story is knowing what to leave out. We remember events in detail that we think is important. If you try to look at your story like it belongs to someone else you might gain the distance to know what is interesting. Even though it is a true story it is a story and you are the omniscient narrator. You can create the experience for your readers that you want to create. They are not going to know or care what the details are. They are going to want to be drawn into the experience. 

From this little sample I think you are doing what is the most common thing that memoir writers do. You are telling and not showing. 

What did his body feel like to you? Who got naked first? Could you smell the alcohol on his breath. Were you disappointed in the experience? Let us be in the pool with you. Just like good sex you do not want to rush it. You don't have to be gratuitously graphic to be erotic. But give us something girlfriend. 

thanks. That sounds good. I will try and describe the experiences smells, feelings, visuals, and bring the reader into them ... 

Hi Linda Rose,

First, congratulations on attempting to write your own story. It's hard to go back through the vast repository of memories and turn them into a story. You have started the journey. Take some time to congratulate yourself. For most people, these beginnings of a memoir manuscript are the first time in their lives they have actually seen life take shape on the page. Revel in the coolness of that. As the pros say, you can fix it if you don't write it.

So first of all, keep going. Gather the anecdotes and put them in order. Secondly, perhaps as a secondary exercise take a class or read a book about scene building. What did you see, smell, touch? One of my big breakthroughs was realizing that it's okay to insert what you think. "I took off my clothes, feeling (excited, vulnerable, grown up)," or "took them off at what speed, thinking what?

Of course you have used the striking example of a crazy sexual blastoff. Often the scenes that jump to mind are the most intense ones, but you also need the in-between scenes to flesh in the buildup of the drama, etc.

I hope this helps. It's hard doing a whole writing class in a comment, but hey, why not try.

Best wishes


Hi, when I wrote mine, I had to keep in mind what was past tense and what was present. I think no matter what your writing you will use, "this or that happened." It's just how much. I found myself going back a few times checking, "Did I say that already?" Or in what context. So just simply say what you did. The reader is with you; so whatever you're doing, or wherever you are going, they're with you. If you are actually doing something then you say so. I know I'm late but let me know if you want examples.


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