Seeking Suggestions…

Looking for advice from people who read and enjoy memoirs!

Running up that Hill with Dogs

I’ve found I have dozens of stories in this hiking genre and I don’t know what would be the most effective way to organize them so my readers would remain interested and follow the VERY LOOSE “plot” line. My options (as far as I know but there may be others I haven’t thought of) are:

Chronologically — I think this is inevitable to some extent, but is it a good way to organize the stories into a whole?

Thematically — I’ve found some themes. It seems there was a whole period of time where hiking was a kind of spiritual practice; that’s a theme. There are animal encounters that could be a theme.

Geographically — most of the stories happen in one place, but not all.

Since I never anticipated writing a memoir and I don’t read them, I could really use advice from people who do read and enjoy…

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6 thoughts on “Seeking Suggestions…

  1. I’ve read a few.
    I prefer a light, conversational style – such as Bill Bryson’s early books or Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’.
    Some I’ve read go into too much detail when they are chronological – the writers don’t want to leave anything out. Geographically would be good (include a map).
    For me a memoir should tell me where the person is, and why they’re there(but no great detail about the planning beforehand). It should tell me about points of interest – scenic/historical (that would make me want to visit that place) and any characters (interesting, funny, or other) the writer met along the way.
    Just like chatting to a friend over coffee one afternoon after she’s returned from a trip abroad.

    • I really like the idea of “chatting with a friend.” That’s a very useful image for me to hold in my mind. That even gives me someone asking questions so I know what they might not know or where I’m not clear. Thank you!

      • Are you thinking of serialising the posts on your blog? Maybe you could publish each one around the date(s) it took place – so it would follow the calendar but not a straight timeline.

      • I like the date idea, but I don’t have dates that specific and all of these stories happened over a period of more than 20 years. I don’t think I could do that 😦 — I’ve been putting up stories on marthaseverest.wordpress.com and sometimes reblogging on what has so far been my “main blog.” I’m thinking of making a little book with drawings from these stories.

  2. Hiking as a spiritual practice, whether formalised, commercialised or private and personal, is a great way to to go. So many ways to view your own hiking. I’m thinking about Basho the haiku poet. (Haiku, hiking, beautiful!) Zen in general. The Buddha. Jesus in the desert. The Camino de Santiago. And also about the strange state of a fugueur, those people who start walking compulsively and are zoned out until they come to, perhaps hundreds of miles away. See The Man Who Walked Away by Maud Casey. I hope you follow up with this idea. It could at least be a category.

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