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What’s the difference between personal narrative and memoir?

Personal narrative vs memoir This goes out to my writing students who scratch their head over my presumptuous ass throwing “personal narrative” and “memoir” around like they should automatically know the differences. In my understanding, personal narrative is using your life’s story to illume some larger issue: mental health, intersectional, feminism, racism, nature, border walls. […]

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We each nurture a private terror that some core aspect(s) of either our selves or our story must be hidden or disowned. With every manuscript I’ve ever edited–even grown-assed writers’–the traits a writer often fights hardest to hide may serve as undeniable facets both of self and story.

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The memoirist’s job is not to add explosive whammies on every page, but to help the average person come in. Otherwise, the reader will gawk at you like somebody on Springer, or she’ll pity you–in both cases, you lose authority.

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