Developing a Time of Writing Voice in Memoir

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

schallerBy Jennifer Jordán Schaller

Even though self-compassion is not my strongest trait, I was able to figure out how to characterize myself in my memoir manuscript after reflecting on my writing using a few steps. My manuscript explores the effect of trauma on the ability of the protagonist, that’s me, to parent as an adult. My old dissertation director, Greg Martin, calls this the “time-of-writing” voice, the voice that struggles to make sense of the past. In one scene, I explore domestic violence from the point of view of an abuser.

By the way, I was the abuser.

Sibling abuse in my home occurred when I was given power I did not deserve. When I was nine years old, I *babysat* my brother. Here’s a sample scene:

My mom was a single mother who left for work each weekday morning while my brother and I finished our breakfast. As the…

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2 thoughts on “Developing a Time of Writing Voice in Memoir

  1. Well, this was really helpful for me. I have far too many times in my life when I wasn’t “proud” of my actions, but how to write about them without feeling I need to include “mea culpa” essay? Thank you for describing your process..

    Liked by 1 person

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