Memoir Assignment

Due 2/5/13, 50 points
Posted as a link from your writer's profile on the wiki

The second piece of personal writing that you will produce for your portfolio is a memoir. Drawing from the Virginia Woolf quote that Calkins shares in her book, "A memoir is not what happens, but the person to whom things happen." In contrast to a personal narrative that would simply retell a series of events, your memoir should focus on one person, one moment, one place, or one idea.

In thinking about the Common Core Anchor Standards for narrative writing --"Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences" -- we also determined from Arnberg's list that the following qualities were especially important to memoir:

  • Beginning
  • Embellishment/Author's Craft
  • Thinking vs. Story
  • Message/Journey
  • Ending

Thus, I have developed the following criteria for evaluating your memoirs:
To what extent does the beginning of your memoir capture the reader's attention and draw him/her into your writing?
Up to 10
To what extent do you include figurative language, humor, or other embellishments to bring voice to your writing?
Up to 10
To what extent do you balance the telling of the story with thoughtful reflection and a description of your thinking?
Up to 10
To what extent do you shape the entire memoir with a key message or theme, describing how the moment changed you?
Up to 10
To what extent does the ending of your memoir leave your readers with a powerful image, idea, or question?
Up to 10
A few other details:
  • What do you think is a reasonable minimum for a word count? 500-1000
  • Can/should we include a picture with the memoir? Suggested
  • Including the MAPS -- I'll explain this more