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The process of writing a memoir or a narrative nonfiction book requires writing pieces one at a time and the use of skills that will eventually bring the book together. Patience and the willingness to focus on developing your writing skills will make your stories come alive on the page. Sometimes it is a challenge to think of your memoir as a process, and to be patient with it. You need to think of it as a series of ideas and steps that you take care of one by one. Here are some suggestions that will help you structure how you work on your book step by step.

  1. Write a paragraph about what your book or project is about. Why are you writing it, what do you want to show or share with the world?
  2. Make a list of the time frames during the book.
  3. Where are your scenes located—what city, town, country?
  4. Who is your audience—the kind of person will be interested in what you have to say?

This topic helps you focus on your query letter later on.

  1. Make a list of the characters in your book, the major people you are writing about.
  2. Practice writing short scenes as a way of honing your skills. Choose two people in your book who don’t get along. Write a brief character portrait.
  3. Write a scene of dialogue between these two people.
  4. Write a plot summary for the book, and for each chapter. You can include in this the mood, tone and epiphany of each chapter. These two questions help you get the whole idea of your book in your mind.
  5. Don’t worry about final solutions and product. This is a process.
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