Thoughts On Memoir and Angles of Repose

Angle of Repose

Finding the angle of repose, that easy place where story flows

is no easy task.

First, pour your heart out on the page

until a pile forms— sufficient text for a memoir, say.

(Example: if the memoir has 360 pages, write M=360)

Using a life span and brutal honesty, measure the amount of truth versus myth you have created, and divide M by half (most probably).

M ÷ 2 = 180

Edit and rewrite to create that desired book-length document.

Remember, the steeper the slope the more likely the pile is to slough off, slipping until…eventually we find that angle

where the story stands and the truth prevails.

  2 comments for “Thoughts On Memoir and Angles of Repose

  1. 04/01/2013 at 12:21 pm

    I’ll admit it … I had to look up “angle of repose.” After reading through (a few) definitions, I love the application of this phrase to writing, especially since much of the writer’s work really is like taking a tumble into and “engineering” our own landscapes, and in the process there is something of a tumbling off of words, and waiting for them to come to rest in the right places! This is a lovely idea.
    Khara House recently posted..a review of luke armstrong’s how we are humanMy Profile

    • 04/01/2013 at 1:38 pm

      Hi, Khara. Thanks for stopping by. I first read about the angle of repose in Wallace Stegner’s book of the same name. I think it applies to writing, as well, and this short piece stemmed from a writing prompt that I think went along the lines of: to incline is to tell the story slant. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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