There’s a scene in Stephanie Wood’s compelling memoir FAKE, right near the end, when she sits down at her laptop to write, and we sense freedom as she taps at her keys, in a way she hasn’t felt since the beginning of the story.

I won’t share the reason for that liberation, because you may not have read the book (which I HIGHLY recommend to readers of memoir and if you’re writing a memoir you want to get published. FAKE is her gripping memoir based on her experience dating a man who fabricated everything about his life) or watched the Paramount + series which just launched last week…


But I’ve been thinking about this element of Wood’s memoir because it’s the paradox of revealing such a personal story to the world (I related so much to this liberation feeling she and I shared, through having intensely personal stories published to millions).
The paradox of this terrifying revelatory aspect to memoir is also the reason one memoir sells over another, leading on to become a series, a movie, etc etc.

I read Wood’s memoir when it first came out in 2019. She and I shared a literary agent and we’d both been drafting our books around the same time.

The 8-part series on Paramount + (also called FAKE) stays (for the most part) true to the book (the behaviour of her mother in the TV series is fabricated).

One of the reasons I watched the whole series in two sittings was because of the page-turning element based on the HOOK.

The other compelling element is the paradoxical ‘hook’ itself, which is part of the story arc that makes memoir so compelling.

The HOOK to Wood’s memoir is the fact that she is an investigative journalist.
A professional story-seeker, information miner, fact-researcher, truth-seeker… widely published in Australia’s major media outlets.

…yet when she met this man online, she did little to no research on him.

To her own detriment.

And this is the imbalance, the shame, the ‘personal’ angle to her story that is SO incredibly gripping. WHY did she leave such a gaping hole in this one aspect of her life, WHY did she ignore her fears, her instincts… WHY?

This is what I mean when I say memoir is always about OURSELVES more than anyone else, when it’s done right.

Wood’s memoir exposes herself just as much as it does the man who turned out to be a fabrication.

We will never have a fully satisfying understanding of who he was and why he did what he did.

But that’s not the point of the story!

The point of memoir is that YOU reach a point of wholeness, acceptance and understanding about the wound or the imbalance that needed to be restored in your OWN life. To release the shame.

To accept the imbalance, and in that moment of acceptance, completely restore the balance. Such a paradox!

I teach literary memoir using the psychological growth arc of the Hero’s Journey.

Because this means as you write, you’re not punishing yourself for supposed ‘mistakes’, instead grasping the truth of your heroic (and also HUMAN nature).

You get to transform yourself through ‘zooming out’ from the experience and writing about it as if you’re scripting the most relatable, compelling, healing, blockbuster story of transformational truth that you could ever see.

And, in doing so, you free yourself from the ‘shame’ that kept the story locked up in the vault you refused to open because of all it supposedly ‘exposes’ about your failures.

You see that in your life, in this human challenge you’ve chosen to face, there’s actually nothing to be ashamed OF!

Every personal story contains these elements of pain and challenge that must be seen and accepted before we can fully grasp its meaning and turn it into ART that others can connect with on a spiritual level.


Whether your story becomes a book or a TV series (or both!), like Wood’s compelling, relatable, gripping, personal memoir FAKE.

Readers (and viewers) know truth when they see it. And this is why writing a memoir for publication is probably the bravest act of personal authenticity you could undertake.

It’s incredibly important to set up the foundational piece of WHY you’re writing this story, before you even start.

I show you how to do this in Foundations to the Art of Memoir.

It’s a deep process but it’s also got to be positive and liberating and ultimately for your FUTURE, not your past, which is why I get you to set up this piece before you even start the writing!

Because if you don’t start the journey with a truthful purpose, you won’t feel good about doing the work required (or feel aligned as you do it!) to bring it out into the light.

Because hey, writing a really good book is WORK. Not a little crafternoon hobby! And memoir is arguably the most difficult genre to master.

The Art of Memoir is my comprehensive writing programme to take you through this narrative journey from page one to finished draft.

The most important piece to this process is story STRUCTURE, because this helps you not get distracted and waylaid by feelings and fears around whether or not your story is of value.

It also helps you step away from emotions and memories because this is the muddy risk of memoir writing.

If a finished manuscript that is written to publication standard is your goal for your story, THE ART OF MEMOIR is a unique, proven, process to write it quickly, beautifully, in an aligned way.

Learn more here in my free training.

I have this free training for you to give you a taste of my personal 3-piece framework for drafting a book, and elements of memoir most people never even consider.



Author Interview: Ruth Clare

How to find your story HOOK