Now is the time to sit down and start writing that memoir. Luckily KC Baker, co-writer of Teresa Giudice’s memoir Turning The Tables is here to give you some tips!
So You Want to Write a Memoir?
At least once a month, someone tells me they have a great story they want to write. The story of their lives.
Let’s face it. Everybody has a story to tell – and, depending on what has happened to you in life and what you have done along the way (the good and the bad!) you may have many to share. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t. Drama is part of everyone’s existence. But does the memoir you have in mind have the potential to go the distance?
I recently wrote a memoir with Real Housewives of New Jersey star, Teresa Giudice, called Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again, with Gallery Books, about her upbringing, how she became a Real Housewife – and how she survived a year in prison, which hit shelves February 9th.
Talk about drama! Her story was one I couldn’t resist writing. (And if I didn’t write it, I would definitely be reading it!) She is one of the strongest, most colorful, interesting, down-to-earth, and funniest women I have ever met. She also has a heart of gold, which I saw firsthand. But most importantly, her story had all the elements of a strong, passionate, and, let’s just say, a page-turning memoir.
1. It’s compelling: Now, Teresa has stories to tell…After all, she is a glam, New Jersey mom who rose to fame after famously flipping a table in anger in the show’s first season, only to find herself embroiled in girl drama galore, for all the world to see. But, as fate would have it, her enviable life was turned upside down in 2014 when she was sentenced to prison for bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. From the moment she set foot into FCI Danbury, orange became the new leopard…
2. It captures her (your) voice: Oh, Madonna mia! If I heard her say that once, I heard her say it a hundred times. This is something Teresa says on a daily basis. ‘Are you kidding me?’ is also one of the many Teresa-isms, I came to know and love. When I was writing Turning the Tables, I listened carefully to the expressions she often used. Why? I wanted this book to sound like Teresa herself is sitting in your living room, telling you what life was like, from her unique vantage point, when she left her family and home behind, only to walk through those prison doors…
3. It has an arc: Teresa’s life didn’t begin when she entered prison in 2015. That, of course, is one of the juiciest parts of the book. But we wanted to give readers a look at Teresa’s entire life to show how she became the woman she is today, starting from the beginning. But did we include every single detail, like the pretty white shoes she wore on her Communion day? No. You have to pick and choose those telling details and anecdotes that show who the person is – or, if you’re writing about yourself, who you really are. So be selective when deciding what to include. You want every word to have meaning.
4. It has emotion: One of the reasons Teresa is one of the most beloved stars in the Real Housewives franchise is because she is so relatable. Yes, she is a gorgeous TV star whose every move (true or false…) is chronicled in the tabloids, but she is at heart, a good Italian girl who grew up to become a devoted wife and mother. Her children are her world.
When Teresa learned at her 2014 sentencing that she was heading to prison, all she could think of was, ‘How am I going to leave my husband and four daughters?’ How would any mother feel in that situation? Her response is heartbreaking – and it was key to capture that emotion while writing.
So before you crank up the iTunes and get started writing your bestselling memoir, remember to make every moment, every word, count. Who knows? We may just be reading about your escapades one day…