In the fifth instalment of our blog series of Creative Writing exercises, 创意写作(荣誉)文学士 课程领导 杰克博士麦高文 talks to us about writing 回忆录 而且 telling readers the story of your life. 

This session introduces 回忆录: a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge. 回忆录 is a type of narrative that captures factual moments or events in the writer’s life. The novelist 而且 poet George Meredith (1828-1909) believes that: “回忆录s are the backstairs of history”.

回忆录s give us ways to tell the small stories 而且 personal insights that make up our lives. 回忆录 is different from an autobiography because it doesn't have to tell your whole life story. 它可以放大时间碎片或记忆. It will often focus on powerful or transformative moments that you think shaped who you are today.

While memoir should be factual, it's not a scene-by-scene piece of journalism. It’s a carefully constructed story that should entertain 而且 move your reader.

The American writer William Zinsser says: “回忆录 isn't the summary of a life; it's a window into a life, 在构图上非常像一张照片. It may look like a casual 而且 even r而且om calling up of bygone events. It's not; it’s a deliberate construction.”

任何一篇文章的开头都非常重要, 一个好的回忆录开头段落必须:

  • 为了吸引读者
  • 营造正确的语气和氛围
  • 建立一个或多个主题
  • Introduce the narrator 而且 their personality through characterisation


These examples of 回忆录 might help you get a glimpse of some of the different techniques authors use. 野天鹅:中国的三个女儿 张戎(1952-)以以下开场:

“At the age of 15 my gr而且mother became the concubine of a warlord general, 中国脆弱的国民政府的警察局长. 那是1924年,中国一片混乱.”

玛雅·安杰洛(1951-2014)开始了她的回忆录 我知道笼中鸟为何歌唱:


“那时我三岁,贝利四岁, 十大靠谱买球平台到了那个发霉的小镇, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed – “ To whom it may concern” – that we were Marguerite 而且 Bailey Johnson Jr., from Long Beach, California on route to stamps, Arkansas c/o of Mrs. 安妮·亨德森.”

We can contrast these approaches with the style taken by Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) in his memoir about his idyllic Russian childhood 而且 the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution that banished him to exile; 可以说,记忆 开始:

“摇篮在深渊之上, 而且 common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”


Now it's time for you to try 而且 write part of your own memoir, this is a writing exercise that has been developed by my colleague, 露丝斯泰西, a lecturer in Creative Writing at the 十大靠谱买球平台. 它将帮助你练习生活写作技巧:

  1. 当你计划自己的回忆录时, 从思考主题开始, 语气, 回忆录中有氛围和“叙述者的性格”.
  2. It’s h而且y to think of yourself as a character in your own life story because memoirs still need to have the powerful techniques that work in a piece of fiction. This means that rather than just telling a life story to the reader, 你把它展示给他们看(十大靠谱买球平台在十大靠谱买球平台的 显示不告诉的 博客).
  3. 你应该想想情节, 的角色, 主角的旅程, 支持字符, 速度和张力, 高潮时刻和决议.
  4. Thinking about your memoir in this way will help you to create a piece of writing that will engage your reader.
  5. Remember your memoir must be based on your truthful life experience. Try to resist the temptation to embellish it too much with fictional details.
  6. Write the first sentence of your memoir then exp而且 it into the first paragraph. 对惊喜敞开胸怀,或者对故事方向的改变敞开胸怀. This is just a sign that your writing instincts are taking over.

研究ing Creative Writing at Worcester is all about challenging your expectations 而且 building the skills that will enable you to let your writing grow 而且 develop. Sometimes the best writing will be a surprise to you as much as it is to your reader.

This is the fifth part in our Creative 写作练习s blog series to help you improve your writing 而且 to act as inspiration. 想试试前面的练习? 学习如何写作 种并行的 以及它对读者如何解读你的作品的重要性.

十大靠谱买球平台的 创意写作(荣誉)文学士 course offers chances to explore these ideas 而且 many more in greater depth under the guidance of published authors.

All views expressed in this blog are the Academic’s own 而且 do not represent the views, 政策, or opinions of the 十大靠谱买球平台 or any of its partners.