If you’ve lived a colourful life you’re probably overwhelmed by a number of possible book topics and themes… Do you memoir about the time a lion chased you in Africa? The seven continents you’ve crossed…? The divorce which almost killed you…? How about the time you almost died on the operating theatre and bounced back to take up ballet in your 70s? Or when you lived with a serial killer without realising…?
This is a simple (and lighthearted!) formula to unlock the particular style of memoir that might suit you!
Take the quiz below to find out what book you should write! I’ve also included some memoirs and non-fiction books as examples for your particular memoir style.
You’ve just made a new friend – what story from your life do you share?
- No story, you wind up giving them a pep talk, cause you love to motivate people.
- That time you hiked the Himalayas / rented a Villa in the South of France / threw away all your possessions to live somewhere far from home
- Things your psychotherapist taught you
- What it’s like to have a blog post or an article go viral on the internet
What’s your psychological superpower?
1: You find the positive in every situation
2: You’re plucky and you know it
3: You explore deep, difficult topics sans flinching
4: You ferret out details and info like the FBI
Cast your mind back to school day you. What did you do on camp?
1: Round up your friends and organise the concert performance (often a dance or a song)
2: Get in trouble for going out of bounds. Once you even hitched a ride back to camp!
3: Started a séance or broke into the boys dorm
4: Interviewed the boy who found a marijuana crop to write about it for the school newsletter
What’s your level of writing experience?
- Low-to-no, but you’ve taught yourself far more difficult things. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?!
- Not much, but you’ve got a pile of travel journals you can’t bring yourself to throw away.
- Medium: You keep a semi-regular journal / have done a couple workshops and had a personal essay published in a magazine
- Pro: You make your living as a journalist, copywriter or blogger
What was the last book you pre-ordered?
- Marie Forleo’s upcoming Everything is Figureoutable
- Under the Tuscan Sun special anniversary edition
- High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins
- The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein
NOW LOOK AT YOUR TOTAL TALLY TO CALCULATE WHICH STYLE OF MEMOIR BEST SUITS YOU!
If you got mostly 1’s…..
You should write a self-help-type memoir! Think simple steps and using your own story to teach people how to do something better. These are KILLER in the market-place right now, and by deep-diving into your own story to make it deeper and richer, you give the reader a rollicking and inspirational journey.
If you got mostly 2’s…..
You should write a travel memoir. You’d have some amazing stories from your journals (if you don’t, learn how to keep a journal for memoir here) and travel memoir sells SO WELL at airports because we all love to vicariously adventure through the page. Bonus points if you took some video footage – that would make for a killer book trailer!
If you got mostly 3’s…..
You should write a literary memoir. Memoirs like Kay Redfeld-Jamieson’a An Unquiet Mind and Augusten Burroughs’ DRY are so satisfying because they deeply explore a section of the author’s life with reflection, intensity and psychological insight.
If you got mostly 4’s…
Well, you’re all over ‘platform’ if you’ve already had some non-fiction published! You could try a memoir-reportage hybrid which sell really well because they cross real-life (everyone wants to know about personal experiences) mixed with modern trends, reasons and data.