The Memoir Through Line

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All books, fiction or nonfiction, have story arcs. Memoirs are no exception. According to memoirist Adair Lara, the story arc is, “the emotional framework” of a memoir.

Your book must have an emotional driver from the first word of the book to the final period. Writers call this by a few names: the through line, the desire line, or even the happiness line. For you, the protagonist in the book, you hope for something. You NEED something.

I want…is a good way to start.

I want to live to see my children grow up.

I want my mother to love me.

I want to be first chair violinist in the London Philharmonic.

I want to climb Mt. Everest after the loss of my leg.

You can see in these statements how a single desire can drive a story […]