Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Importance of Internal Dialogue in Memoir

            Remember, memoir is not autobiography.  Memoir recounts an important time in the writer’s life, an important journey, happy or sad, triumphant or not, where a discovery is made.  This journey is merely a slice, not the whole life pie.  But within that slice, as in fiction, internal dialogue is important. 
Discovering the possibilities

Internal dialogue is a dialogue the writer/character has with herself.  This dialogue in memoir usually projects present day thoughts or logic or knowledge onto prior actions of the writer/character.  It’s like an interpretation of the preceding action, scene, or anecdote. 

Like fiction, memoir cannot be merely a collection of scenes, dialogues, or actions.  Some scenes and actions are used to move the plot forward, to create tension, or to enhance characterization.  Other scenes need to be interpreted by the writer through internal dialogue. 

Interpretation in memoir explains why a particular action is so important in the writer’s journey.  The writer attempts to revisit that part of her life again, through memoir, and discovers newfound knowledge to share with the reader. 

            As I move ahead in my revision work of the college memoir, I’m probing beyond my literal college experience to discover the epiphanies that I was too busy to see at the time with the daily grind of college and family life.  My husband and children find my scribbled thoughts on torn pieces of paper left on tables and counters, bookshelves and bathroom vanities.  I tell them to throw away nothing they find and put it on my desk on the porch.  When I get time, I type them into the prologue document to my memoir and sort them from there.  [This cuts down on the fire hazard in our home.]

Memoir needs to be more than autobiographical.  It needs to provide insight not merely the facts of the experience.  Memoir is a writer’s story about a specific time in his or her life with the writer’s present day reflections on that time.  

Oh…the timer’s beeping and I need to get the apple pie out of the oven.  I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving.  Thanks for stopping by.