March 27, 2020
11 AM PDT | 12 PM MDT | 1 PM CDT | 2 PM EDT
Tips on Structure and POV in Memoir
Determining the structure of your memoir can be essential in figuring out how to actually write your story. And—equally vital, and directly connected to structure—so is clarifying your point(s) of view.
Structure allows us to get our story across to the reader, while also providing them with needed context and understanding. And while the POV is of course “you,” the you who is writing about your experiences is necessarily occupying a different “point” of “view” than the “you” who had those experiences. Understanding and clarifying the differences between these narrators makes all the difference in our writing.
Exploring structure and point of view in this lithe and skillful way leads us to creating characters. You are of course a character in your book, and we’ll also discuss some strategies that help us convey that character to the reader.
You can expect to come away with a deeper appreciation of and understanding of:
- How vital structure can be in getting your story across to your reader;
- Some examples of structures that have been used in successful memoirs;
- The nuances of point of view in memoir, and how clarifying these can help you get your story down more effectively;
- Some strategies to build character, including your own, and how to get these characters across to the reader; and
- How structure is related to point of view, and how point of view is related to building character; and how empowering it is to understand these connections as you work on your memoir.
SANDS HALL is the author of the memoir Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology (Counterpoint), a finalist for the Northern California Book Awards and a Publishers Weekly Best Book in Religion and Spirituality. Other works include a novel, Catching Heaven (Ballantine), a Random House Reader’s Circle selection; and a book of essays and exercises, Tools of the Writer’s Craft, and several produced plays, Her stories and essays have appeared in such places as Iowa Review, New England Review, and Los Angeles Review of Books. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she holds a second MFA in Theatre Arts and holds a resume as actor, director, and playwright; she is also a singer/songwriter and performs widely. She teaches annually for the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Please visit sandshall.com
Upcoming workshops with Sands include Gold Rush Writers, where this year she is a Keynote Speaker; the Iowa Summer Writing Festival; and the Community of Writers, Squaw Valley. She also works as a private writing coach.