Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Your memoir’s Grand Finale, part 2

Saturday we began considering your memoir’s ending—your Grand Finale.

You might be saying, “But I haven’t finished writing my vignettes yet!” Let me explain:

1) Write a rough draft of your conclusion, subject to revisions, and

2) It might seem strange to work on your ending before you’ve finished the main body of your memoir—your vignettes, your stories, your chapters—but think of this:

If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.”
Yogi Berra

In other words, plan ahead. Know where you’re going with your memoir, and aim for that. Plan ahead for your memoir to end on a high note so your readers will long remember it.

How do you do that?

Well, you had a reason to start writing your memoir. What was it?

For me, it was stumbling upon Deuteronomy 4:9, “Always remember what you’ve seen God do for you, and be sure to tell your children and grandchildren!”

If you can pinpoint your reason to begin writing your memoir, you’ll have a better idea of how you want it to end.

You might want to get out a couple of sticky notes. On the first one write, “The reason I’m writing my memoir is________________” and fill in the blank.

On the second, write, “The message I want my readers to take away from my memoir is _______________” and fill in the blank, keeping in mind you probably won’t know the final version of your ending until you’ve written all your chapters and have taken time to dig deeply and discover all the gems hidden within—a crucial part of memoir.

“… The last impression
is what people remember.
Begin well, with attack and accuracy.
Drive it through.
But, whatever else,
make the end the best.
Know exactly what you are aiming for
and finish with a bang.” 

Alma Gluck

C’mon back on Saturday when we’ll examine additional considerations for your memoir’s Grand Finale.


  1. Linda, funny story about how I came to the conclusion of my own story. I was asked to give a short talk at one of our Mothers of Preschoolers meetings on the name of my table I mentored. I felt so blessed because the table name was Grace. And at the end of my mother's life what had given me immeasurable peace was the manner in which God had healed us both with His grace, His sufficiency. And as I noted in my last comment, that special verse in 2 Cor. 12:9, "My grace is sufficient." :) I love beginnings that start with endings!

    Here's to you and a great series!


    1. Excellent, Sherrey! "My grace is sufficient" is so all-encompassing in defining who God is and how He relates to us, yet it's hard for us humans to (a) understand it and, even harder, (b) to accept it from God. Great focus for your memoir!

      I'm sure you must feel that having this focus for your conclusion helps you figure out what to say and how to say it in the main body of your memoir.

      Can hardly wait to read it, Sherrey!

      God's richest blessings to you today,

  2. Linda,

    This concept of letting the ending guide your memoir writing intrigues me. I am following Sherrey's work and can see how clear she is about her theme and where she needs to go. I know that the main thread pulling all my vignettes together is how the power of hope through my faith in God helped me to overcome obstacles. I'm thinking I need to write my ending so I can hone in on that theme. You've both given me some valuable insights here. Thank you!