Define: Memoir vs Autobiography

Memoir vs Autobiography - Either way it's a story where you are the main character and it deserves to be written.First let’s just say that not all dictionary definitions make it clear that there is a difference. However, most of the writing experts define memoir vs autobiography something like this:

An autobiography is chronological and covers an entire life. The dates should be accurate and the stories should be true.

memoir is about a specific event, topic, or time period in your life and is not necessarily chronological. It is less focused on the events themselves and more on the experience of the writer and/or the impact on the writer’s life. Memoir writing may be more similar to the style of a novel in the storytelling aspect.

That may be all you need to know. Although there are sometimes heated discussions on the topic, around here we don’t really care what you call it. We just want to make sure you get it done. Honestly, most people never think about memoir vs autobiography until they get ready to write their own life stories. However, if you are working with a commercial publisher, you will definitely want to sort this out at the beginning.

PS. So now that you’ve decided what to call it, maybe you’re ready for our free guide: Preparing to Write Your Life Stories. It works for both memoirs and autobiographies!



  1. Amy Saunders says

    Hi! Oh wow, thank you so much for explaining in detail about the differences between memoir and autobiograpy, especially in terms of the sequential order of the events inside them. I’ve been thinking of getting some reading materials to read during the holiday season. I’ll keep this tip in mind so I’ll make the right purchase later.

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