I’ve been talking about character as an aspect of memoir writing in my workshops this fall, so this recent blog post by my colleague Denis LeDoux of The Memoir Network caught my eye. He is the author of Turning Memories Into Memoirs, a compact and useful handbook. With permission, I am sharing his post:
Don’t De-value Your Characters by Using Cliches and Stereotypes
by Denis Ledoux
Don’t devalue your characters by using cliches and stereotypes. This will undermine the unique and personal feel of your memoir. Cliches and stereotypes place people in categories. As short-hand ways of writing and speaking, they reflect ready-made thoughts and adversely affect the ways we relate to our families and friends as unique individuals.
- “She was a mother-hen; You know how mothers are!”
- “My father had a heart of gold.”
- “Those were beautiful days when we were happy.”
These examples of cliches and stereotypes reflect ways of thinking that get in the way of seeing people as individuals and events as unique.