Interview with Bestselling Author Hope Edelman Provides Insights into Writing Memoir Openings and Using the Best of Non-Fiction Techniques

by Matilda Butler on September 14, 2009

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #24 – Women’s Memoirs, Author Conversations – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

In the first of our fall interviews for Women’s Memoir Author Conversations, memoirist Hope Edelman provides suggestions, details, insights, and a few of her teaching tools as she responds to your questions about memoir writing. Two areas received considerable attention:


1. The opening to your memoir comes with its own reason and season. This included what is the goal of an opening; when do you finally know you have found the right opening; what opening sentences can do to bring a reader into your story and hold her there. In addition to a number of illuminating comments, Hope read the opening paragraph to her new memoir: The Possibility of Everything and described the multiple levels of meaning she put into those words.

2. Creative non-fiction is not an oxymoron. In response to several questions, Hope described how the techniques of fiction can be used to enhance the writing of a memoir. Included in her discussion were suggestions for story structure and plotting.

Other areas covered in our interview were writing tips, writing prompts, the difference between non-fiction writing and memoir writing, and stripping away the non-essential so that the essence of a story can shine through.

We’re sure you’ll not only enjoy listening to Hope but also learn ways to improve the craft of your memoir writing.

If you missed Hope’s women’s memoir writing prompt, CLICK HERE.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

GutsyWriter October 3, 2009 at

I wrote to Kendra a few days ago regarding advice on a synopsis for my memoir to submit to agents at La Jolla Writers Conference in November, without realizing that you interviewed Hope Edelman. This was obviously meant to be, as I am writing about chucking our Orange County, California life, in order to rescue our defiant teenager, escape the rat race and teach our three sons gratitude in Belize. I am going back to Belize on October 10th, 2009 with 11 nurses to treat 400 kids in a Mayan Village, where the children have never seen a doctor. Thanks Kendra for your tips on the synopsis, and I hope to find an agent for my memoir. Love your interview and your website.

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