Memoir Moment #8: Interview with Sue William Silverman About Writing Your Memoir Opening

by Matilda Butler on December 6, 2009

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #32 – Women’s Memoirs, Author Conversations – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

Want to learn about writing effective memoir openings? Stuck on how to bring readers into your story? Worried your memoir is written in a boring way? Don’t want to take a memoir class?

Several weeks ago, Kendra Bonnett and I interviewed award-winning author Sue William Silverman. We had so much to discuss that we decided to leave the topic of memoir openings for a separate interview.

Sue is an energetic and gracious woman who shared many of her ideas for writing memoirs. Our interview began with a discussion of the openings that Sue crafted for her first memoir, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You. I say openings because she has a Prologue before Chapter 1. I’ve had students ask if they should have a Prologue and I think you’ll find Sue’s insight quite helpful.

Here’s our interview:

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In Sue’s commentary on the opening to her second memoir, Love Sick, she shows us how to use the five senses to convey emotions. Be sure to listen to the audio above to gain insights about your own use of the five senses.

If you’re working on your memoir or thinking of starting, Sue’s book about memoir writing can guide you on your journey. In our interview, Sue talked about her struggle to find the right voice for Fearless Confessions and how a memoir vignette helped her create the bond that she wanted with her readers.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Journaling Our Way to Kendra's Birthday: Day 6 — Memoir Writing Blog
June 2, 2011 at
Deconstruction and the art of revealing character personalities, behavior and motivation — Memoir Writing Blog
March 5, 2012 at

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Elizabeth Sifuentes September 30, 2014 at

Dear Sue,
As I listened to your first memoir, I was taken back when you said your father abused you. I am so very sorry and yet happy that you did receive healing. I learned so much from your words and I wanted to thank you. I am writing a memoir, although I have never written a book before. This portion of my life needed to be told. It is about the murder of my only son and the 10 arduous years of inner healing. You have given me such insight regarding the opening. I see I should start where I originally wanted to begin until I got an editor. My editor wanted me to start from the days of my youth. Thank you for giving me permission to trust myself and my inner voice. I wish only the best for you and send you many blessings. Elizabeth Sifuentes

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