Friday, June 21, 2013

Every Memoir Has at Least Two Story Lines: Part II

First, if you are not interested in linking up your stories this week and if you don't have another idea to write on, feel free to pop on over to Share a Pair of Stories for a straight-up lifestory writing prompt.

Okay, if you are here to link up your stories, let's review our progress so far.
  1. We found the theme (or themes) that seems central or recurs often in our stories.
  2. We discovered which other genre's characteristics our story shares.
  3. We identified the places that our shorter stories should fill on a plot line of our larger story's genre.
Today, we will at our story's inner story, which may be the most important.  The inner story of your memoir tells how you have changed.  It takes you from who you were to who you have become.  This process can be a bit confusing for three reasons:
  1. The change in your character is generally constrained by the timeline of the literal story, so who you become in your memoir may not be who you are now (although there are ways around this, so don't worry).
  2. The change in your character does not need to be monumental.  It may simply be the loss of naivete.
  3. The change in your character may merely be the loss and regaining of peace during and after a crisis.  It may be a passing, and not a permanent, change.
Take a moment now and try to pinpoint the change that your inner character goes through in your journey through your stories.

In my case, my change is one of becoming.  I was a non-mother.  Then I become a mother.  Then I become a better, but still not great, mother.  Then I give up becoming a great mother.  Then I become more of the mother I want to be.

These changes don't follow plotlines, so they are a little difficult to track.  Think hard about it for a while. Try to write it out in sentences as I did above.  Next, try to flesh out each of the sentences with details that hint at the scenes that each change might correlate to.

For example: 
  • I was a non-mother:  wanting children, getting pregnant, getting pregnant again.
  • Then I become a mother:  childbirth (surprise!), feelings of failure, learning about that child, childbirth again (surprise!), every child is different
  • Then I become a better, but still not great, mother:  what works, what doesn't, injuries, anger, swearing child at the shoes.
  • Then I give up becoming a great mother:  recognizing failure (oh, boy!  I will need work here!  These are hard to write--even hard to think about!), some things can't be fixed  
  • Then I become more of the mother I want to be:  becoming more authentic, really listening
Now you try.  This is all you need to write for this week.  This list is enough.

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