WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND A MEMOIR?
Autobiography and memoir: two terms that seem to be
constantly confused and used interchangeably.
While the confusion between the two is definitely
understandable, there are a few differences that can help you identify whether
it is a memoir you are writing, or if it is actually an autobiography.
An autobiography is generally a personal narrative that
tells the story of the author’s life. An autobiography:
- Is usually written chronologically
- Details the author’s entire life (up until present day)
- Focuses mainly on presenting facts and history
- Is more formal and informational
- Is a collection of facts
- Can be written in either first or third person
Like an autobiography, a memoir is also a personal narrative
about the author’s life. A memoir, however, generally focuses on a specific
window of time within the author’s life. A memoir:
- Can be written chronologically, but frequently hops around through different periods of time
- Is generally more emotionally focused; highlighting specific experiences and the feelings that went along with those experiences
- Is less formal and more conversational
- Is written more from the perspective of the author, and less from a factual perspective
- Is a collection of memories (with facts intertwined)
- Is written in first person