It’s work! Writing was relatively easy. I’m not saying all writing is easy but writing a memoir can be as simple as transcribing your journals or letters. Several of the memoirs I have reviewed were actually just a selection of letters and I am now beginning to understand why they simply let the letters tell the story. Because my letters were so old and I was so young at the time I felt that more was needed. So I took pits and pieces from my letters and used my letter to jog my memory. Thus I find that I know have a conglomeration of memories. Now comes the hard part, making them into a memoir.
I have read that revising is about making “big picture” changes. The revision stage is sometimes called A.R.R.R. (adding, rearranging, removing, replacing).
Adding: What else does the reader need to know? What areas could you expand on? Go back to your notes and memories to find stories you didn’t use.
Rearranging: Even though I planned a chronological memoir, I may need to rearrange paragraphs. Also look for duplication such as telling a story that happened before Easter, then telling it again from a letter that I wrote after Easter. Also consider starting point for a strong starting paragraph.
Removing: I will look for any duplication of stories or repetition of similar events. How many Fiesta’s does my ready care to read about? Look for things that don’t really fit.
Replacing: Would more vivid details help bring the piece to life? If a paragraph isn’t working, rewrite it. The memories are vivid in my head, are they vivid in my memoir?
Let the work begin.