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Jennie Nash
How to Think About Structure and Shape in Memoir
February 24, 2023
11 AM PST | 12 PM MST | 1 PM CST | 2 PM EST

The structure of a book refers to the overall shape or form of the idea—how it is organized, how it functions. The structure you select has a profound impact on how your reader will experience the material and what they will take away from it. This is as true for memoir as it is for any other genre, and if you ignore the fundamental questions of structure, you risk writing something that doesn’t hold together for your reader—a fate no writer wants, whether their intention is to capture their story for their family or to try to win the hearts of readers all over the world.

In this presentation, Jennie Nash will lead us through the key questions to ask yourself about the structure and shape of your memoir, including:

  • What is your intention as a writer—or in other words why you are writing this book?
  • What is the point you are making for your reader—what do you want them to take away from the story?
  • Is it only a story and is it true? Memoir can quickly veer into other genres such as fiction or self-help and you want to be clear about what you are writing.
  • What is the timeline of your story —what is “story present”?
  • How will you use chronology to help you tell your tale?
  • What is the point of view of your narrator, who is you but who is standing at a particular moment in time?


Participants will learn:

  • How to take a step back from their story to think about its purpose
  • How to ask key questions about shape and structure to get clarity on what they are writing
  • How choosing leads to greater creative confidence


Jennie Nash is the founder and CEO of Author Accelerator, a company that trains, certifies, and supports book coaches so they can help writers do their best work. Jennie’s own clients have landed top agents, six-figure book deals, and spots on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. She is the author of 11 books in 3 genres, including Blueprint for a Book: Build Your Novel from the Inside Out and Blueprint for a Nonfiction Book: Plan and Pitch Your Idea. Her Blueprint book on memoir is coming in 2023.

Visit www.authoraccelerator.com/success to take Jennie’s free 7-day writing challenge, which walks you through the first 7 steps of her Blueprint for memoir, with lessons and videos.

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