When Is Lying In Memoir Acceptable? 3 Key Issues


A memoir may appear simple to write at first glance. After all, aren’t memoirs just a compilation of your life’s stories? The truth is that writing a memoir is a delicate matter, and while each person’s life story is different, many of the greatest memoirs have certain essential components that help them succeed.

You might wonder if it is okay to lie when writing a memoir or what the major problems are. Well, then, you should continue reading this article to find out all your answers.

Memoir: What Is It?

A memoir is a non-fiction book that recounts an event in the author’s life from their perspective. It focuses on a single era or perhaps a particular multi-era trip rather than the memoirist’s full life experience.

In contrast, a memoir could focus on the author’s entire life from a particular perspective, such as the events leading up to and around their professional career. As a result, when compared to an autobiography, a memoir is more narrowly focused.

Six Important Factors Of A Memoir

The best memoirs, such as Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, and Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking, use a variety of procedures to describe their tale to the reader.

Here are the crucial components that all great memoirs contain, so keep them in mind whenever you’re debating whether or not it’s acceptable for you to tell lies:

1.         The Theme

A strong memoir will always have a compelling theme. It’s tempting wishing to contain every interesting personal story that has occurred in your life when writing a book about your experiences in life.

But every captivating tale in a powerful memoir should further the topic, and memoir writing should be centered on a certain concept and lesson. What do you expect readers will understand from your memoir? What is the primary lesson you want to express?

2.         Obstacles

The primary occurrences of your memoir should be summarized after you’ve agreed on a theme. Memoirists often describe a significance in their lives when they desired something—like professional as well as career success—or required something—like recovery from addiction or perhaps a period to process grief—and they narrate the tale of that time.

By clarifying the meaningful barriers that discouraged them from earning their goals, memoir authors might make the writing procedure manageable. Because you are the main protagonist in your book, readers would like to see you confront and overcome challenges.

3.         Beating emotions

The best memoirs elicit strong feelings from the reader. Writing in the first person’s point of view enables you to convey the emotional effect of each distinct recollection in addition to your story.

What part of your narrative caused you the most emotional distress? What significant occasions gave you cause for optimism and perhaps even joy? When did you feel the most fear? Readers want to feel both your narrative as well as emotional arcs.

4.      Honesty

A memoir’s uncompromising honesty is one of the most defining qualities. You must always remember that the readers go into a memoir expecting a true story. Readers are clever people. If something in the memoir does not feel relatively correct, they can notice.

ghost writer

The connection between the writer as well as the reader may be permanently damaged if they realize that the happenings in the memoir are unreal. You must thus be trained to present your tale in an open as well as sincere manner.

Some people even use memoir ghostwriters to tell their tales but that doesn’t mean they use them to write fake tales, if you are someone who is looking for a ghostwriter then you should be able to tell them everything there is to know about the specific incident to be as truthful as possible for the readers.

5.      Supporting Narratives

Writing memoirs entails exploring the depths of your real-life narrative and accurately as well as transparently highlighting those significant occurrences. That’s why so many of the fundamental aspects of a memoir are obtaining supporting anecdotes from various sources.

Interviewing your family or friends present when you were growing up may be beneficial if your memoir is a coming-of-age tale about your early years. They might have a different perspective on some events than you do or have more tales to add to your work.

6.      Individual Style

You may share a tale from your life by writing a memoir. However, you can also express it like no one else can. Your writing style enters the picture here. Your personality, as well as your point of view, should be present on every page.

Your tone may be formal: One can be certain that David Sedaris’ trademark comedy will be present when reading one of his memoirs. You may write more formally. Perhaps you use flashbacks and flash forwards to throw the reader off by presenting the incidents of your memoir out of order. Only you are aware of your style, which needs to be reflected in each sentence.

What Are My Options And Limitations Regarding My Memoir’s Truth?

Here are some crucial recommendations:

  • Avoid making up details about persons and characters because that is considered fiction.
  • When is it acceptable to make things up? when you inform your readers right away. Have a disclaimer at the beginning of the book stating that you modified some identifying details about a person—and modify a few things so they won’t be recognized—to protect their identity.
  • Too many characters? It’s acceptable to follow Shirley MacLaine’s example in Out on a Limb; at the start of the book, she provided an author’s note stating that one of the roles was fictional but was a mixture of numerous real acquaintances of hers.

The circumstances were actual, but for the story’s sake, she combined these various individuals into a single persona. What makes it okay? Because she was upfront with everyone! This would not be acceptable if she hadn’t.

  • Verify as much information as possible, including dates, weather, and whether certain music was indeed released during the year you are writing about. Research the specifics you believe you recollect to ensure your account is as accurate as possible. Anything that does not match reality will cast doubt on the entirety of your record.


There you have it, and a memoir should only be written honestly so the readers can truly understand and feel your story.

However, if you wish to make changes, it should be justifiable and informed beforehand so people don’t assume your story is a lie.

Delhi Magazine Team

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