How to Write Memoir: Examples, Tips, and Ideas for School &College students

How to Write Memoir: Examples, Tips, and Ideas for School &College students

Everyone has the right to write his memoir; there is no need to become famous. If you want to write your memoirs quickly and successfully, our article will help you. It has all the helpful information for writing and practical examples and instructions on how to write an outline.

✔️ What Is a Memoir?

A memoir is a genre of non-fiction in which the author recounts specific historical events that they witnessed or participated in. This type of work can show either the author’s entire life as a biography or a particular event that they experienced.

What is a memoir? Definition.

Memoir Characteristics

Initially, the memoir genre acted as a subjective description of the past through the prism of the author’s life in it. An essential feature of memoirs is the claim for the authenticity of the reconstructed history and, accordingly, the documentary nature of the text, although, in reality, not all memoirs are truthful and accurate.

They have several stylistic features of memoir:

  • Clear relevance to the history
  • Factoriality
  • Chronological narrative

Examples of memoirs can be diaries, notebooks, correspondence, memos, or travel notes.

You can get a better idea of what a memoir is in our free essays database.

Memoir vs. Autobiography

Despite the outward similarities between these types of literature, there is still a difference between memoir and autobiographical literature. They are entirely different genres that are independent and complete works.

Criterion Memoir Autobiography
Focus One period in the author’s life Author’s entire life
The writer Anyone Protagonist
Reader Interest Interested in a particular story Learning about a specific person
Chronology No strict chronological order Strict chronological order
Emphasis on writing Personal experience and the intrinsic Facts and how the writer himself fits into the historical record
Moment of writing Can be written anytime Usually written later in life
Writing style Free writing style Formal style

✨ Memoir Examples and Ideas

The best way to understand how to write this type of work is to see examples. That’s why we’ve given you examples of 100-word student memoirs below.

1. I dreamed of being an artist and becoming a doctor, and I don’t regret it. The dream of becoming a journalist has haunted me since my childhood. Back then, I was a very young boy, inspired by late-night TV shows and concerts. Those were glorious times when the well-known rock bands performed on stages, the real heroes. Wanting to become the darling of the audience, a hero like these guys, from time to time, I picked up a comb and sang into it in front of the mirror, impersonating the lead singer of one of them. Time passed, and fate had it so that now – 10 years later – I’m an emergency room doctor. You’d think my dream never came true. But it wasn’t. Over time, I realized that even though I do not have colossal fame and am not a hero to many teenagers, I did what I wanted – every day, I and my colleagues save lives.

2. Being sad for no reason frustrates me. For me, sadness can even be pleasant; justifying it in any way I can – I can imagine myself in that person’s shoes, listening to the sad music of the main character in a dramatic movie. I can look out the window as I cry and think, “This is so sad. I can’t even believe how sad this whole situation is.” Even reproducing my sadness can bring an entire theater audience to tears.” Feeling sorry for myself in times of sorrow intensifies it in me at such moments.

3. 1998 – This was the year my life changed. My friends and I went on a mountain trip, and as we were climbing rocks, I got oxygen deprivation at a certain altitude. Then my life was saved by people close to me. It was a moment after which I decided to live each year as if it were my last. It meant spending two years in New York City and focusing on loving life. It meant making new friends. It meant saying yes to many other things. It meant that my priorities were no longer the same as most.

If you would like to see more extensive examples of memoirs, the Fictional Memoir of Kerry Brodie and the Sociological Mini-Memoir on Personality Development would be remarkable for that.

6-word Memoir Examples

It is not necessary to write many paragraphs. Sometimes only 6 words are enough. There is a type of memoir of just one sentence. Mostly they are quotes from famous people, but no one forbids everyone to compose them. Here are some 6-word memoir examples:

  1. Unrehearsed, honest, unstoppable, and succeeding gradually
  2. Because of my big dreams, I’m always stressed.
  3. Every day is thinking of dreams, still thinking.
  4. The supremacy of reason over the dictatorship of emotion.
  5. Never let anyone steal your joy!
  6. Keep up the fight! Don’t give up.
  7. Loved his soul, not his money.
  8. A dream journey for all of us.
  9. At first glance, she was gentle.
  10. I was happy, and then I wasn’t.
  11. The right choice saves lives.

Memoir Prompts

To write a memoir, you must first choose a topic. Here are prompt ideas to help you:

  1. Write about your first love.
  2. Write how you survived the 2020 crisis.
  3. Write about the best trip of your life.
  4. Discuss friendship and what it means in your life.
  5. What are some of the things you regret that you didn’t do?
  6. Explain what you have too much of and what you have not had enough of in your life.
  7. Write about how you got into trouble.
  8. Tell me what aspect of your personality you are proud of.
  9. Write about what kind of music helped you cope with stress.
  10. Tell me how you felt when your father taught you to ride a bicycle.
  11. Tell about a situation in your life when you were insanely happy.
  12. Tell us about your most reckless purchase.
  13. Write about a goal that was easy for you to achieve.
  14. Discuss how you met your friends.
  15. Talk about a situation that is beyond your understanding.

Memoir Topics

What are some excellent memoir topics? Check out the list of memoir ideas:

  1. Hiking with friends in the mountains.
  2. How I survived Hurricane Katrina.
  3. Breathtaking Victoria Peak in Tokyo.
  4. Moving to another country left a mark on me.
  5. A man who saved my life.
  6. The problem of gun control and how it affected me.
  7. The lawsuits between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard led to a confrontation between my friends.
  8. The time when I lived in a house with a beautiful view of the mountains.
  9. A strange incident happened in my home in the middle of the night.
  10. Watching my favorite movie with my family.
  11. Fear of flying an airplane.
  12. Today I’m glad I made the right choice.
  13. My best friend at school.
  14. My car broke down in the middle of a mountain road.
  15. I didn’t get to be a designer.
  16. I never got to make up with my grandfather.
  17. A long trip to Europe.
  18. Switzerland won my heart.
  19. My favorite dish and memories associated with it.
  20. The war in Yugoslavia left a mark on me.
  21. How I found the courage to say “NO.”
  22. Surfing in Bali.
  23. The most horrible injury of my life.
  24. Winning a chess competition.
  25. Studying at Harvard.
  26. I didn’t help a man in trouble, and karma found me.
  27. Organizing the most massive event in town.
  28. Playing in the casino made me poor.
  29. The job that made me brave.
  30. The plane crash I survived.

🖊️ How to Write a Memoir

Now you can get out your pen and paper and start writing. Any work has specific rules and structure, and memoirs are no exception.


When you are writing a memoir, organizing all your memories makes sense. A peculiarity of this genre is that the author recalls their emotions and impressions as they write. They can negatively affect the work because they can mess up the structure and order. In addition, you may accidentally start telling stories that run parallel to the main story and “go astray.”

A well-written memoir synopsis will help you prevent this.

How to write a memoir outline?

Here are a few steps:

  1. Represent the main character. There will also necessarily be an antagonist in a person, situation, or circumstance. You need to “hook the reader’s interest in the first act. Examples of a successful hook will be below.
  2. Involve some drama, conflict, and critical events. All of your emotions need to be revealed, as do all of the events. In this part, your problems become more entangled and complex, as shown through scenes of actions and reactions that highlight your journey of change, transformation, and discovery of true or false.
  3. The drama, conflicts, and problems reach a climax, and the person (you) has completed the action, having had the experience. There are many endings in which the reader feels happy, sad, satisfied, with cause for reflection, etc. But the ending should always leave the reader feeling that the story is complete.

You can use this memoir outline template when writing your work:

Memoir outline template.

Memoir Introduction

A memoir should reveal intense, exciting, and real-life discoveries from the first lines to the end of the first chapter. If you are just beginning to write your memoir, follow these writing tips on how to start:

  • Engage. There’s nothing like a gripping hook to keep the reader engaged. Elizabeth Gilbert, for example, opens her bestseller Eat, Pray, Love with an intimate moment.
  • Build credibility. From the beginning, tell your story as if you’re sharing a secret you’ve never told anyone. This approach makes the reader a confidant and builds trust from the start.
  • Evoke emotion. Write your first pages from the heart. Use language that resonates with people on an emotional level. One of the best ways to evoke emotion in your reader is to talk about yourself.
  • Lead the story with a laugh. Try leading with humor, whether you’re writing about your childhood or your memoir is about a darker story.
  • Reveal a dramatic moment. Choose a dramatic moment to begin your memoir. You can revisit the event in more detail later, but it may interest the reader if you share a compelling glimpse of what is to come.
  • Think like a fiction writer. A memoir is the true story of your life, but it should also include the structural elements of fiction. In your exposition, be sure to set the stage for the rest of the book by establishing yourself as the protagonist, laying out the source of the conflict, and highlighting the central theme.
  • Keep it relevant. There are a million little details and life experiences that can be interesting on their own, but if they don’t support your story, you should exclude them.
  • Chronology in the introduction is optional. Start writing the part of the story that inspires you the most, and then go back to your beginning after you finish your first draft. As you register, you will find the perfect start.

Memoir Hook Examples

As mentioned earlier, the memoir structure involves having a clear that draws the reader in the hook.

What’s it for?

First, the hook arouses the reader’s interest. Second, it reveals a situation, a feeling, an emotion, or all of these in a thesis statement. This gives the reader a chance to understand what the story will be about and get attention.

Effective hook characteristics:

  • 1-2 sentences
  • Brings emotions
  • Goes beyond a memoir

You can see a great hook in a live example of a memoir, as well as in the examples below:

  • At the Chess Olympiad then, everyone gave me a standing ovation.
  • At that moment, I was one of the first to feel the fear of death.
  • Broken knees and even my nose, but I still tried to pedal, getting on my bike time after time.
  • I heard a scream. Something terrible had happened.
  • The waterfall overshadowed all my memories with its beauty, even my first love.
  • Few have spent their lives in Africa treating tigers.
  • It’s about a historical event
  • I was sure my parachute wouldn’t open
  • The mass shooting at Columbine Middle School. I would have rather died than my friends.
  • All the students were amazed to see an elderly professor doing somersaults, demonstrating the laws of physics.

Memoir Conclusion Examples

As you know, your story must have a beginning and an end. In the end, there needs to be a conclusion. Describe what you got out of your situation, how your life changed afterward, or what you gained or lost. You may want to jump back in time, perhaps many years in advance, to complete your story and summarize it for readers long after the “period” your memoir covers has ended.

And now, grab these memoir conclusion examples:

1. This journey along the river took all my energy. But it was nothing compared to the people I got to know. Billy, Miles, and Ashley seemed like strangers to me, but now we talk every day, and we see each other on weekends, reminiscing about our shared adventures on the Mississippi.

2. The moment the hurricane grabbed me and lifted me into the air, something changed in my mind. I thought I was about to die and was ready to accept it. But fate gave me a chance for salvation, and I took it. After that event, I became a different person; I rethought all the values in life and began to look at problems from another side. Although the trauma of that day still affects me, I’m happy with how my life has changed.

3. For a week after I had recovered from my serious injury, I had not heard from my unit in Afghanistan. The doctors told me not to get nervous, and no one gave me any information. Then on Wednesday, at 2 p.m., I heard the doorbell ring. It was Sean, the deputy squad leader, and a couple of other privates from our squad, safe and sound. A feeling of joy immediately filled me, and they broke into my house and started giving me a friendly hug and patting me on the back. All I could think about was how glad I was that they were in one piece, and the phrase kept rolling through my head, “We did it, Sean, we did it.”

These are just a few examples of the completion of a memoir. It’s enough to get the gist of a well-written.

As you can see, anyone can write a memoir, and it’s not as hard as it sounds. Now that you know how to write an outline, an introduction, and a conclusion, you have seen short memoir examples. You will write a fantastic memoir.

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What Are the 5 Parts of a Memoir?

A memoir should contain 5 crucial elements: the truth, theme, first-person narration style, voice, and perception. The focused theme, demonstration of a specific event or experience, and conflict. The writing style of your memoir should be straightforward and spare. Supporting details will add charm to your memoir, and giving elements to your narrative will help the reader relive some of the emotions you experienced.

What Is the Purpose of a Memoir?

A memoir’s primary purpose is to recall an event from the past and present it to the reader in an exciting way. At the same time, it is necessary to conclude that it will be interesting for your audience.

What Is a Personal Memoir?

The essence of a personal memoir is that you write about what happened to you personally. Remember how you felt in those moments, and sincerely communicate that in your work. Only you can tell the story of your life that will make others more prosperous spiritually. A memoir about yourself examples is in the article.

How Many Words Should Be In a Memoir?

The standard size of a memoir is about 60,000 to 80,000 words. That’s about the size of the average novel. Can a memoir be smaller, like 40,000 words? Sure. Its main point is for the author to tell a story to the reader.

What Is the Difference Between Memoir and Biography?

These two genres are generally similar and are part of non-fiction. The critical difference is that while a memoir focuses explicitly on a particular incident or experience and attempts to highlight a point of view, a biography presents chronological events from a specific person’s life without emphasizing a specific experience. Also, unlike memoirs, which emphasize individual emotions, biography tends to be more general.

🔗 References

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