|On a journey to a better
beginning for the memoir
Beginnings are the most important part of books, I feel, be it memoir or fiction. Writers lose sleep over this.
*Yawn* [Excuse me.]
Writers need to pull readers into their stories. Up till now, I’ve been starting my memoir with the decision to begin college. With what my life was like before I started college.
I understand the in medias res concept, opening the story in the middle of the action. I open chapter one of my memoir with a crucial scene from a YA short story I had published in Cricket Magazine, but I intersperse it with motherly duties to show my conflicting time: writer/mother. Then I [seem to] dump the reader into the reality of picking up the children from two different schools on a rainy day. I allow the reader to interpret the children’s personalities through dialogue and interaction or offering one line quips that speak volumes about them. Still, I can’t help but think this is a clumsy way to introduce my children to the reader.
While I ask what I feel are probing questions about myself in an attempt to convince myself to sign up for courses at the local community college, I wonder if maybe my present first chapter should be a prologue instead, minus the opening writing scene, of course. What have you found the purpose of prologues to be in books? Reading memoir, my experience has shown that some memoirs have them and others don’t, and that these prologues tell of the essence of the book.
Chapter two starts with my toting the children along with me as I sign up for courses at the community college. Perhaps I could show the children’s personalities there in that scene. Maybe this is a better way to show in medias res, the actual beginning of my college journey. Jump right into the journey instead of thinking about it. Instead of showing what my life was like before I started college.
Do you feel there is a need to show the pastoral setting of my life before the decision to attend college? I do offer glimpses of my life with the family throughout the college journey as it affects my journey. Thanks for any advice you may offer.