Okay, you’ll say they’re your memories, and you can tell them however you want. That’s true unless you want others to read them with interest, curiosity and enjoyment. Then you need a story or stories, and these have arcs just like a novel or a play: beginning, middle, end—exposition, challenge, resolution etc. And, REMEMBER, even a small chapter can have several arcs as challenges come along, each needing an interim beginning, middle and end. (See Freytag Pyramid below to understand "arc").

  • Exposition: Set the scene—who, when, where?
  • Incident: Something happens, you meet someone interesting, you failed a test, you got robbed, fired, or sick, made a simple mistake or conversely got promoted or inherited a million dollars, or multiple events at once.
  • Climax: How the direction of your life shifts and sets the scene for the resolution—how you go forward.
  • Falling Action: A picture of your altered direction, relationships, feeling of peace, further turmoil etc.
  • The Hook: It’s intermission. Your section has ended, but you want your audience to come back for the next chapter or phase. “As you will see, this was only the first time I made this kind of mistake” or some such final statement to bring them back to their seats to read on.

Memoir may have many of these stories, each chapter for instance; it might be chronological from youth to presentage. There are many ways to arrange your tale from little pieces to separate sections on professional/creative life, personal life, family, or even grouped by location. You can get creative and make each story a poem, or add illustrations and photographs.It’s up to you.