There are many reasons why a memoir can be powerful enough to make a profound difference in a reader’s life. Its truths, triumphs, tragedies, startling revelations, proof of how obstacles can be overcome, and its author’s secrets – which are often being revealed in the memoir for the first time.
Sharing sensitive stories and facts can be a challenging decision for any author to make. On one hand, you know your story can help others who are struggling with similar situations in their life that you’ve faced (or are still facing). You also know that a personal story can offer answers and inspiration more profoundly than a simple self-help book can do. But on the other hand, are concerns about how much you feel comfortable sharing and sometimes legal concerns when your sharing involves others.
How can you share your sensitive life story in a safe way?
One solution, is to write your memoir as a novel. This decision offers you a few advantages as an author.
- Fiction writing frees you up to write in a new, exciting, and creative way and stretches your muscles as an author (especially if you’re used to writing nonfiction).
- A novel can engage the reader more deeply through the increased use of literary elements like plot, language, pacing, conflict, and suspense.
- Writing a memoir is already an introspective, often therapeutic experience. Writing your story as a novel takes this to the next level, allowing you to explore your life more deeply and from a different angle as you write about “your character” (who might not necessarily be a mirror image of you).
- You can “edit” your life story by changing details and in doing so, exploring how and why various life choices turned out the way they did.
- Fiction gives you the opportunity to change names and/or details to protect the innocent (and/or guilty).
Need help translating your real life story into a novel? Let’s chat!