The pitfalls of the Memoir

I have grown despondent.

In the last week, I have been researching diligently (again) the perfect synopsis, how to pitch a query (and how to work out who to pitch it to), the little tweaks and quirks of the memoir that give the task that extra twist. Then I take those notes and learnings back to my synopsis and slump as I see the huge task (again) ahead of me to improve it further. Add to this the battle with the word count – which I am winning, at least on the memoir front, I must say – and I am a rather sensitive ball of nerves come Friday night when I am told (for not the first time in my blogging “career”, granted) that my posts are officially the longest in someone’s reader.

Okay. I win. Or you win! You get more. For free!

And I grow even more despondent. About my long-worded posts this time. But only because I’ve spent the week in this other world of cut-throat “live and die by the synopsis”. I’ll get over that soon enough (even though in the back of my mind I’m trying to recall the past month or so of posts and tally up less long ones to short ones……)

Along the course of writing my memoir, I have sent out the briefest of pages here and there. Always difficult when the subject on some of those pages is reading it for themselves for the first time.

And here lies my latest heart-gripping fear:

How do I properly prepare a reader for seeing a scenario from my perspective?

How do I learn not to take responsibility for their words or actions in my story?

When does merely being the story-teller (through my eyes, told from my point of view) cross the line into something else?

How do I protect myself from their feedback when it inevitably returns with the sensitivity of The Average Person not used to seeing (if not their names – for I have changed them all) their words or their deeds in print?

It was confronting enough for me, as a willing participant, to see our story told in brief inside Making Babies when the copy arrived in my letterbox signed by the author. So why have I not considered before now the creep up the back of the neck that one of those in my memoir might feel if this goes forward?

How do I reconcile the fact that for my story (Ellanor’s story) to go forth – a vital story that “MUST be told”, so others continue to profess – some of these characters must be in it? I’ve removed entire characters (and, therefore, plot sequences) from the story in the past five years. I’ve merged some, and certainly sometimes watered down what they have said – the frequency with which their snarks have been delivered included – but if I contain it any more, it will simply not be a true representation of what it is like to live with the stigma of a dead child.

I’m beginning to realise why there are some books on the shelf that seem not to delve too far in to this area (of relationships surrounding this subject) – it takes a pretty special story and author to persevere. [slumps]

This realisation has taken the reality of publishing to a whole new level. A level I’m not entirely certain I am cut out to stand on.

What do I do here?

Universe…. tell me!


(and hey, the greatest fear currently in my life, brought to you in under 600 words! How do you like THEM apples?!)



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