For Those Writing Memoir-- Advice from Darin Strauss

Half a Life: A MemoirI wrote about Half a Life: A Memoir by Darin Strauss yesterday and found this advice he had on writing memoir.

“If I was going to write about [the accident], I had to do it in a way that wasn’t self-justifying. For young writers who want to do that, I think one really good trick is to just to do a word replace.  Change ‘I’ to ‘he’ or ‘I’ to ‘she,’ and write about yourself in the third person. When it comes time to send it out or look at it for revisions, change it back to ‘I’ or ‘me.’ That distance can help you tell the story. I know it sounds silly, but that little trick of distance can add a lot of perspective.”

The link I found this at is here.  

I currently have a 35,000+ word memoir about leaving for a week's writing retreat and my crash-and-burn technique to return to the real world.  I haven't been working on it for quite a bit, but reading Darin's work has inspired me to put some time into it and see what happens.

So if you know any publishers/agents looking for the behinds-the-scenes look at a poet's life, feel free to send them my way...


  1. I'm working on a memoir, too. Not sure I agree with the advice to write in third person then change it back, but, hey, whatever works.

  2. That was really good advice .I think
    writing a memoir is hard work so any advice on the subject is appreciated.
    I alos read his novel more than it hurts you very good book as well.


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