How Old Is Mike From Stranger Things In Season 4 Memoir Writing – Five Tips For Writing Complete and Concise Stories

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Memoir Writing – Five Tips For Writing Complete and Concise Stories

Many memoir writers have difficulty distinguishing between what it means to write enough, and what it means to write too much. This is one way to go about writing enough, but not too much: You write everything you need to write about a topic (completeness) and then eliminate everything you can without changing the meaning of the story (brevity). What remains is your story.

As you write, keep looking at your prose like an outsider. Is there enough information to understand everything you are trying to communicate? If not, continue adding details. Unless you are very good, very experienced, do not modify at this point. Just let your text grow.

Yes, you are likely to repeat yourself and include irrelevant information. You might even babble on. But don’t hold back. Your writing needs to flow in order to be as complete as it can be. For everything there is a season… Once you feel you have said everything you have to say, then you need to undertake two tasks:

1) Eliminate everything that is redundant. Examine your text. Have you said the exact same thing before (or something very similar)? Choose the most effective version and delete the rest. Saying it once is usually enough.

2) Don’t forget the redundancy that creeps in when you have the narrative or repeat the dialogue. Put meaning in the dialogue, not in a narrative. “He was very hungry. ‘After not eating for several days, I’m starving,’ he said.” Make the dialogue bring the meaning here and eliminate the narrative sentence He was very hungry.

3) Linking sentences can also be redundant. “Our house in Des Moines was a two-story brick building. In comparison, our house in Cincinnati was only one story and built of wood.” Here the two sentences are obviously a comparison, and you do not need the words of comparison.

4) A third form of redundancy occurs when an adjective tries to act as a superlative in a word that is already itself a superlative. Examples of these are: complete silence is no more silence than silence; a dead body does not die more than a dead body; very sincere is not more sincere than sincere; true facts are no truer than facts.

5) Eliminate material (even if interesting) that does not contribute to the overall impact you are aiming for in a story. Writers can find themselves with interesting, well-written material that belongs elsewhere. Sometimes this material can be an excess of description–remember the tip of the iceberg. Other times, you can write a story within a story, a separate story with its own beginning, middle, and end, its own set of images and characters. It may even have a beautiful story that will move the reader. However, remove it. Complete the story-within-a-story for future reference. He won’t go–he’ll wait for you later. Maybe it can fit into the flow of your life story – but in a different place. Or, maybe you have a nice description that you need to expand and make into a story of its own.

Michelangelo, when sculpting his statue of David, it is said that he pointed out that he chipped away at the block of stone until the statue appeared. He eliminated everything he could and what remained could not bear any more elimination: finally, Michelangelo had the statue that was waiting for him.

Of the many pages you wrote may be the smallest–and best–your memory. Is the story you want to finish and encrusted in excess prose? Keep cutting your text until you can’t chip anymore without detracting from your story. That will be your “David” in a memory.

Good luck writing!

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