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Keep It Real Memoir: More prompts and tips

A memoir is a personal story so keep in mind that you will use narrative techniques to engage your reader and immerse them in the experience as you remember it.

Your challenge is to share the experience - show us through your eyes, let us feel what you felt and let us hear your voice.

Select a memory

There is a reason that certain events and encounters stay in our memories- they have a significance. You may not recognise why the memory is significant until you have written about it and reflected on the emotions and thoughts you had.

Here are a few prompts to jog your memory:

An encounter with an animal

A moment the weather impacted you

A moment of pain

A moment when things didn’t go according to plan

A moment when you were alone

A moment when you were in a new and strange place

A moment when you were brave

A moment when someone came to your rescue

Choose a memory and build it into a memoir.

Here are some features to consider

Weave in the details

You do not need to explain the who, where, what and when at the start. Weave this information into your story if it is useful to the reader.

Setting = Time and Place

Draw the reader in with sensory detail so we 'see' and 'hear' what you saw and heard.

Set a mood through your word choices.

Use specific detail to give us a clear sense of the place and objects in it.


This is you so write in first person 'I'. Reveal something about yourself. The reader will want to connect with you so don't be an anonymous narrator.

Start with yourself in action- what were you doing just before the main event?


Provide a 'trigger' that leads into the main event. By providing a clue such as a noise, a movement or a change you cue the reader that something important is about to happen.

Reaction and new action

What happened next? And then? Show the reader this so they see/ feel it through your experience.

Key Moment

Magnify this moment with detail or extended action.

The Ending

Finish at a place where something else has changed.

Finish in a way that the reader understands why this moment was important enough for you to remember.

If you would like to, then please redraft and polish your memoir and enter the Keep It Real Memoir competition.

Details here:

(c) Write On School for Young Writers 2021


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