Jan Wood


A simple question but one that is often misunderstood.

“Is your book an autobiography?” A question I’m often asked. “No, it’s a Memoir.”

To differentiate, an autobiography MUST start from the beginning of the author’s life and the work must cover inciting incidents, antidotes and fun experiences in chronological order. In other words, it is an accurate account of the author’s life.

A memoir is often a chunk of the writer’s life, beginning wherever they choose. This makes the story more interesting and often challenging with the use of reflections back into childhood events, without the all-consuming necessity of accuracy. IT gives the writer poetic licence, to embellish the story wherever necessary to add to the flavour of the text and even include reflections which may not be entirely accurate, due to memory lapse.

The memoir is an opportunity for the writer to relate a part of their life, whilst leaving out other parts of their life, within a specific timeframe.

Writing a memoir gives the author an opportunity to explore emotional reactions and experiences in a vulnerable way, embracing the reader with sad and at other time humorous rhetoric.

The creative writing style of the memoir writer is of paramount importance to engage the reader and maintain their involvement, like all other genres.

My debut memoir, A Grip on Reality, hopefully captures the essence of my life experiences. I believe, as a writer, it is imperative to be honest and realistic about one’s life, inviting the reader into one’s innermost secrets.