Individual Deliverable 2: Overview

Individual Deliverable 2:  Overview

From:     Lani Uyeno
, Manager

To:         Hali'a Interns

Subject: Overview of Memoir #1 

For this Individual Deliverable, you will re-create a significant event from your life in a 750 to 1000 word (approximately three or four double-spaced word-processed pages) autobiographical piece. Choose the event with your readers in mind: it should be one that you feel comfortable presenting to others and that will lead readers to reflect on their own lives or the differences between their personal experience and your own. Present your experience dramatically and vividly so that readers can imagine what it was like for you. Through a careful selection of words and details, convey the meaning and importance--the autobiographical significance--of this event in your life.


As you know from your internship, in writing autobiographical pieces, you present to readers your experience of a significant event, place, or person so your readers can imagine what it was like for you. The overall purpose for writers of autobiography is to convey the significance--both the meaning and the importance--of the past experience.

An effective memoir will do the following:

Narrate the story. Use anecdotes to draw in your reader and keep their attention. Also use narration to pace the story and intensify scenes.

Describe places. A description of the setting helps readers picture the scene and leaves them with an impression of the subject. Be sure to use vivid language that describes sensory impressions (what the place looked, smelled, and sounded like).

Describe people. When you describe people, you may describe their physical appearance. But, you should also give details about how they act (gestures, expressions) and how they relate to others.

Convey the autobiographical significance.

Some advice from William Zinsser, author of in Inventing the Truth:  The Art and Craft of Memoir:

My final reducing advice can be summed up in two words:  think small.  Don’t rummage around in your past – or your family’s past – to find episodes that you think are “important” enough to be worthy of including in our memoir.  Look for small self-contained incidents that are still vivid in your memory.  If you still remember them it’s because they contain a universal truth that your readers will recognize from their own life. (290-291).

Remember to use what you have learned from Team Deliverable 1 regarding "showing" as you draft this first Individual Deliverable.
Next, click on Individual Deliverable 2, "Getting Started".