This session is based on the presenter’s craft article “Privileged Perspective in Memoir: Building the Bridge of Trust by Trusting the Reader” which first published in the Writer’s Chronicle.
During the session, we will examine techniques used by memoirists and personal essayists Mary Karr, David Sedaris, Abigail Thomas, and Jeannette Walls to establish credibility and gain the trust of their readers. The author of memoir must also express a level of trust, showing readers that she believes in their ability to enter her story and relate to the world she has recreated. The author builds the foundation of trust by reaching out to the reader with factual and often sensitive details of her life and relies on the reader to complete that bridge by personally relating to the story based on cues the author provides through her use of the elements of craft.
Going beyond self-reflection and commenting, we will examine the concept of privileged perspective, along with using dialogue, description, and implied meaning to engage readers and set the stage for each reader to relate to the story through her own experiences, thereby giving the reader a larger role in the emotional and intellectual interpretation of the work.