How To Write a Memoir #1

December 19, 2017
krauserpua

You are all no doubt aware of my Winter Memoir Challenge. A couple of you have taken me up on the offer [1] and one has even sent his first chapter for review. With this in mind, I thought I’d offer up some thoughts on how to write your memoir so as to avoid the usual pitfalls. This post is all about the inner game of writing.

1. Just write the bloody thing.
The biggest single obstacle to a memoir writer is procrastination. You see hundreds of blank pages stretching far ahead of you and it appears daunting. Therefore your primary objective is to fill those pages. Don’t second-guess yourself, don’t get bogged down in narrative arc or how to perfectly express any given point. Just write. Imagine yourself telling each story in the pub to your friends and then write it whatever way it flows out of you. It’s far easier to perfect a first draft you’ve already written than it is to write a perfect first draft from scratch.

balls deep

A memoir, yesterday

2. Your first way of writing is the best way, for now.
Writing your book is not a one-shot deal. You get the chance to edit, re-write and expand it as many times as you wish. I usually do five or more passes through my memoirs before they hit the publisher (and the editors and test readers on top of that). Don’t try and cram everything in on the first draft. Concentrate on just getting the core story down. Everything else can be added, deleted, or polished in a later pass.

3. You’ll find the book in the writing of it.
Few good novelists have a detailed plan of the book when they first start writing. Usually they just have a vague idea, and a few elements (e.g. a plot point, or a key character, or a theme). As they write they hit a flow and the rest of the story starts to fall into place. New ideas occur all the time while writing, much more so than they do if you’re just ruminating on a blank page. By the half-way point of writing you’ll have gotten a clear idea where you want the book to go even if you didn’t have a clue when you first started.

4. You already have all the facts.
Fiction writers need to create characters, develop them, and figure out how they’d believably act. You don’t need to because you already know these people and how they acted. Fiction writers need to create plots and advance them. You don’t because reality did that for you. Fiction writers need to research locations. You’ve already been there. Fiction writers need to spin stories different ways to find a way that’s compelling. You already did that in the pub with your mates the day after it happened. All the content and detail you need is already in your head. Anything extra can be added after you’ve finished the first draft.

21cks0

Find a flow. Don’t go mad.

5. A memoir is really a series of anecdotes.
Every girl you fuck or fail to fuck is a chapter. Every trip you did is a collection of chapters. Every key insight or leap forwards is a chapter. Your 70,000 word memoir is really a collection of 2-3,000 word individual stories. Write them one at a time. Put them in chronological order. Then write a couple of additional chapters to link them thematically. There’s your book. You don’t need to write them in order.

6. You already have a compelling thematic structure.
Almost every memoir (volume one, at least) will be the Hero’s Journey and it goes like this:

  • Chapters 1,2: My pre-game life. I was clueless and here’s a few funny/tragic failure stories of it.
  • Chapters 3,4: I hear about game. I’m intrigued but it takes a while to take the big step. Some friends encourage me, others discourage me. I have self-doubt whether I can/should try it. Mention who you read/saw on YouTube.
  • Chapter 5: I start game. Woah, it’s exciting and tough. Look at all these strange people I met.
  • Chapter 6-10: I run around doing game. Here’s what I was learning, and some successes and failures. Perhaps a lay report or a few.
  • Chapter 11: I realise it’s a lot deeper than just telling girls they look French. Some inner game thoughts.
  • Chapter 12-end of book: Mostly girl stories of failure, near miss, or lays. Some mention of a technical or mindset point you learned from each.
  • Chapter 20-ish: A major setback or meltdown. Perhaps feeling like you’ve crossed over out of the Blue Pill world.
  • Last Chapter: Fuck me, that was a wild ride!

Obviously you don’t need to follow that structure but if one hasn’t occurred to you, this one won’t put you far wrong.

I’ll do more posts later. For now I just want to impress upon you that writing a book-length memoir is not actually such a daunting task. Grind out the chapters like you’ve been grinding out the sets. The book will find itself in the process.

[1] And the offer is still open if you’re still on the fence and haven’t pulled the trigger before giving it your all [2]
[2] That’s an example of the type of cliche-ridden sentence a memoir-writer should avoid like the plague [3]
[3] As is that one, dull as dishwater [4]
[4] And that one. Though the footnote tomfoolery also represents the kind of immersion-breaking self-satisified meta writing that you should also avoid [5]
[5] Like the above comment. Okay, I’ll stop now.

If you enjoyed reading about writing a memoir, perhaps you’d like to read a memoir that’s already been written by the writer writing about writing one

3 Comments

  1. Before I left the London seminar I forgot to tell you a story where I turned down a lay with a 53 year old aerial yoga instructor with a great core (of course) and big boobs. It was my inner game issues that fucked it up. At the time I felt like I was nothing more to her than just a story. My zero to hero to story is definitely over. With no lays. But I got so close to that so many times it doesn’t matter.

    Probably would make a good story.

  2. Pingback: How to write a memoir #2 | Krauser PUA

  3. It was funny reading 6. , as my book seems to follow this structure already. Soon to be at 50k, i can flick you a copy if you wanted to take a look? [Sure, send it over by email. K.]

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